Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS recently published a report regarding music consumption for the first six months of 2014. While sales of digital music have dropped since Dec. 2013, activities related to music streaming services have increased. SoundScan measures point-of-sale purchases of recorded music while BDS tracks radio airplay and music streams.
According to the report, for the first six months of 2014, sales of digital albums are down 11.6 percent compared to the same time period a year ago. Overall on-demand streaming has increased by 42 percent. Specifically, on-demand audio is up 50.1 percent and on-demand video is up 35.2 percent.
News of streaming music services rising as digital downloads drops shows evidence that Apple is at the forefront of the shifting of music trends. The company’s iTunes store is the biggest digital music provider in the U.S., but if sales continue to drop, Apple needs to find another way to make a profit. Having a popular on-demand streaming music service like Beats in their bag of tricks will help Apple stay relevant as consumer interest changes.
Interestingly, Nielsen’s report also shows that sales of vinyl albums increased by 40 percent in the past six months. Vinyl was on the verge of becoming extinct in the past. However, the popularity of the independent music genre has rekindled a love affair with vinyl. It is highly unlikely that Apple will be affected by the desires of record collectors since digital album sales in 2014 have already reached 53.8 billion while vinyl album sales came in at only 4 billion.