Is it time to panic over a major drop in US digital single sales, or will streaming services save the day before the year is out?
Posted on Jul 05, 2013 04:19 pm
The music industry has had a knock back after surprising news that digital single sales in the US have fallen by 2.3 percent compared to last year. But on the plus side, digital album sales continue to grow - albeit at a slower pace than before, at 6.3 percent growth, according to figures in Billboard.
Digital has been growing to help compensate for the decline in physical sales over the past decade, so the drop in single sales means that industry bods will be looking out for 2013 results on streaming income to see if digital revenues will level out by the end of the year. Streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and more have seen widespread adoption this year, so there's hope that the music industry can continue to claw back fans from piracy websites and convert them into paying customers - even if it's at relatively low streaming subscription rates of $5 or $10 per month.
But digital streams are often criticised for their low royalty rates, and even Pink Floyd stepped into the debate last week when they accused Pandora of taking sneaky steps to reduce musician royalty payments by 85 percent - an accusation that Pandora denies.
What do you think will happen if digital music fails to save the music business? Will the industry move underground? Share your theories and hopes in the comments.