2005 apparently brought new heights for the music downloading business, with the final week of December bringing in nearly 20 million separate songs sold, more than twice the previous record of 9.5 million. For all of 2005, the estimate is 352 million, which is well over twice as many from 2004. A lot of this success can be attributed to the iPod and other mp3 players, which have been given great improvements the past year. Digital music sales are quickly approaching CD sales, and may even surpass them in the next year or two. So much for the music industry claiming that legal downloadable music will never catch on. This isn't making them happy, though.
While more legitimate downloads should be good news for the music industry, analysts say the trend may not bode well for the record labels. Because single songs sell well in digital form, sales of entire records are likely to plummet over time. And music labels have already let it be known that they believe the 99-cent per song price most download sites, including the iTunes Music Store, offer, is too low.
Regardless, the people have spoken, and online content is where most everyone, from a consumer and service provider standpoint, wants to be.