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The decline of physical music sales

In the past decade, the way people have been obtaining or listening to music has changed drastically. When one of your favorite artists released a new album, it was very common to go out and buy a physical copy of the CD and listen to it. Nowadays, that is rarely done. Everything has been shifting towards the internet and digital sales. In the US, between 2000 and 2010 record store sales declined more than 76% and CD sales declined by 50%. This year, digital music sales surpassed physical music sales for the first time, with digital sales making up 50.3% of all music sales. By the end of the year, physical music sales are projected to decline by another 9%, while mobile music revenues will rapidly grow at 39%, followed by online revenues, at 10%. The Wall Street Journal has gone as far as predicting the drop of record sales to be an estimated 77.4% by 2016. Music shops, record stores, and large national chains are all being affected by this transformation.

Throughout the years, with the introduction of various new means of listening to music, physical music sales have been declining. The internet has provided a variety of cheaper, easier, and sometimes free access to music. Whether you buy a song on iTunes for either $1.29, $0.99, or $0.69, go on YouTube and play any song you want to listen to, or take advantage of unlimited streaming from services such as Pandora, Spotify, MySpace, or many smartphone apps, the need to go out to a record store and buy a physical copy of a CD has been drastically reduced. All of these services offer direct benefit effects on consumers and have therefore allowed the decision to buy a physical CD to be overwritten by the decision to use one of the many new and more convenient services that are so popular today.




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November 2012