1. Akshay Masand's Avatar

    Apple’s move to acquire Beats Music seems to have happened at the right time as the latest music sales data shows once again that the industry is trending away from sales of digital songs and albums. Nielsen SoundScan this week revealed its year-end statistics for the music industry, which spotlighted 54% growth in on-demand streams of audio and video music-related content. Streams as a whole were up from 106 billion in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014.

    This increase in streaming services comes as traditional digital album and song sales are on a decline. Sales of digital albums fell 9% in 2014 to 117.6 million while songs dropped 12% to 1.26 billion. Overall album sales, both physical and digital saw a decline of 11% to 257 million. In fact the only album sales that ended up growing in 2014 were vinyl, which increased by 52%. With 9.2 million vinyl records last year, the legacy format accounted for more than 6% of all physical album sales. Vinyl sales have also increased year over year for the past nine consecutive years and 2014 was the best year for vinyl since 1991 which is when Nielsen SoundScan first began tracking music sales.

    Senior Vice President of Insights at Nielsen Entertainment, David Bakula, had the following to say regarding the matter:

    Digital music consumption continues its robust growth, with On-Demand streaming up 54% over last year and 164 billion song streams being played in 2014. Although overall music sales are showing declines, Vinyl album sales were up 52% in 2014, shattering last year's record-setting total by more than 3 million LPs.
    Nielsen’s stats only underscore the importance of Apple’s acquisition of Beats Music previously which gave the Cupertino California company an entrance into the booming subscription music service market. As of right now, Apple plans to use both iTunes and Beats Music to cater to different segments of the market.

    In an effort to help drive more users to Beats Music, Apple plans to release a native iOS app starting with an update early this year. The change would supposedly help the company compete against streaming services such as Spotify. It has also been rumored that Apple cold potentially retire the Beats Music brand and instead label it as part of the iTunes umbrella which could bring it in line with other first-party offerings such as iTunes Match, iTunes Radio and the iTunes Store. It has also been rumored that Apple hopes to increase beats Music subscriptions by cutting the subscription price to $5 per month. The Cupertino California company is said to have pitched a proposal to music labels suggesting that a lower price point could grow music subscriptions considerably. As of right now, a subscription to Beats Music costs $9.99 per month but if users sign up for a full year, it will only set them back $99.99 for 12 months.

    Source: Nielsen via The Wall Street Journal

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand
    2015-01-05 12:23 AM
  2. AKCHRIS's Avatar
    I still Buy Digital Media, but I listen to iTunes Radio also...since it's how I buy Most of my Music. I don't listen to my Local Radio...it's ALL about iTunes radio for me...and I'm getting Rid of My Apple TV Since I'll be getting a Network Receiver that will do the same thing as the Apple TV.
    2015-01-05 05:00 AM
  3. holyshnikes's Avatar
    I'd rather see iTunes radio go away and beats stick around to stay. Or better yet have the two of them merge and create something new. The problem with iTunes radio is that it's not "popular" anymore. ITunes it's just a way to buy apps, music, and sync your devices. If Apple wants to break into that "We're cool" category again, they need something else in terms of streaming content.
    2015-01-05 12:43 PM
  4. bigboyz's Avatar
    I am not a streamer of music really. I own a huge library of music that i never seem to get through. I can't see 'renting' music for a fee, when I already own it. To each his/her own i suppose.
    2015-01-05 03:18 PM
  5. hogcia's Avatar
    For streaming music I use pandora. Done!
    2015-01-05 03:22 PM
  6. cpho's Avatar
    I stream from Pandora to discover new music, and then buy from iTunes if I want to own it. Sometimes the iTunes Store doesn't have what I'm looking for, and I'll have to buy the physical CD then import to library via iTunes Match.
    2015-01-05 03:27 PM
  7. repoman16's Avatar
    I am not a streamer of music really. I own a huge library of music that i never seem to get through. I can't see 'renting' music for a fee, when I already own it. To each his/her own i suppose.
    I used to be like this, until I realized that I will NEVER hear any new music this way. Sometimes the random Pandora stream is a nice change up because you hear things you like that you would have never heard before if you only listened to what you already had.
    2015-01-05 04:50 PM