Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal did a huge service to us stat geeks with its front-page article "Sales of Music, Long in Decline, Plunge Sharply." Let's just dive into the numbers:
- 20% decline in weekly sales of CDs from Q1'06 to Q1'07, from to 97.8 to 81.5 million units.
- 54% increase in digital sales from Q1'06 to Q1'07, from to 112.6 to 173.4 million tracks.
- Combined, sales of all music - digital and physical - are down 10% this year
- Other sales - ringtones, subscriptions, etc. - comprise an additional 1% of sales
- On P2P networks, 1 billion songs a month are traded
- In 2006, 800 music stores closed, including 500 Sam Goodys and 89 Tower Records
- Megaretailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy represent 65% of the retail market, up from 20% in 1996, but are reducing floor space dedicated to music
- In 2006, about 100 million iPods were sold
- In 2007, two lowest-selling No. 1 albums since Nielsen's Soundscan was launched in 1991 - Chris Daughtry (65,000) and Dreamgirls (60,000). In 2005, these albums wouldn't have cracked the Top 30. No. 1 albums often sold 500,000 to 600,000 copies per week.
A couple months ago, The Big Picture paraphrased the following 2006 statistics from the AP:
Year-end sales figures released Thursday by Nielsen SoundScan said 588.2 million albums were sold in 2006 -- a 4.9 percent decline from 2005. But digital track sales increased by 65 percent over the previous year, with 582 million tracks sold, and digital album sales more than doubled, with nearly 33 million sold last year.
Consumers made nearly 1.2 billion music purchases in 2006, up 19.4 percent from just over 1 billion in 2006, according to the company's data, which is based on point-of-sales tracking. That increase comes even as sales have dropped 4.9 percent of albums, whether by digital download or on CD and other formats that you can actually hold in your hands. Overall, the industry sold 588.2 million albums in 2006.