US music sales up 3.1 percent in 2012 thanks to digital single sales

By on January 4, 2013, 3:00 PM

Digital music is now responsible for more than half of all music sales in the US, according to figures recently released by Nielsen. It’s a milestone for the industry as it’s the first time that digital sales have topped physical stores with regards to album sales. If we had to venture a guess, digital shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

When looking at things on a deeper level, we see that digital album sales jumped by 14 percent in 2012, totaling 118 million units. Digital album sales accounted for roughly 37 percent of all albums sold last year, up from 31 percent in 2011.

Physical album sales, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. Album sales dropped 12.8 percent which led to overall album sales falling 4.4 percent year to year. Music sales overall were up 3.1 percent thanks largely in part to digital single sales led by Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with 6.8 million downloads and 6.5 million downloads, respectively.

Overall, 1.3 billion tracks were sold in the US last year, the most ever for a single year. This was good for a 5.1 percent increase in sales, we’re told. As you can see, digital music continues to be a key growth element within the music industry.

Surprisingly enough, sales of vinyl albums were up 17.7 percent in 2011, totaling 4.6 million. This figure hardly scratches the surface compared to digital and disc sales but it’s impressive nevertheless considering how long vinyl has been around.




User Comments: 6

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

Video game and movie industry. Pay attention, this is how is gonna be.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

As the music business executive that I am (I'm not) I have to always whine about piracy, and how we're being devastated by it, even when in reality business is good. It kinda sucks we can't charge $20 for a CD anymore, though.

Guest said:

Music does not sell because the product poor.

make better music and people will start buying again.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

As the music business executive that I am (I'm not) I have to always whine about piracy, and how we're being devastated by it, even when in reality business is good. It kinda sucks we can't charge $20 for a CD anymore, though.
If you don't mind me asking, did you ever actually pay $20.00 for a reasonably current CD

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

If you don't mind me asking, did you ever actually pay $20.00 for a reasonably current CD

Of course not. I was being sarcastic towards those whining execs.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Of course not. I was being sarcastic towards those whining execs.
Well Ducky, one of the saddest days of my life was when they installed this new forum software, and it omits the ":roleyes:" emoticon! I practically lived and died with it at the ready.

But speaking of album prices, I bought an MP-3 copy of Taylor Swift's "Red", for $1.99, during a one day sale at Amazon. Don't know if I'll even like it. But, I live in a "diverse" neighborhood, and I'm just laying in wait for someone to try and interrupt me while I'm playing it.

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