Digital downloads give way to strong sales of vinyl records, streaming in 2014By Shawn Knight
While it should come as little surprise that sales of digital albums and songs continued to decline in 2014, you may be taken back by the fact that sales of vinyl records more than doubled since 2013 according to data compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.
Over the course of 2014, Americans purchased 257 million albums, 106.5 million of those digitally, representing a decline of nine percent year-over-year. Digital song sales were down 12 percent versus 2013, from 1.26 billion to 1.1 billion.
In the wake of digital music purchase declines, streaming music grew by an impressive 54 percent. In 2013, 106 billion tunes were streamed - a figure that shot up to 164 billion last year.
All said and done, however, overall music consumption didn't change one way or the other last year when the industry standard of 1,500 streaming songs or 10 individual track sales are counted as an album.
Vinyl sales, meanwhile, weren't even close at just 9.2 million but that figure is impressive when you consider it's the most sold in a single year since SoundScan started tracking sales way back in 1991. Compared to 2013, vinyl sales were up 52 percent last year.
Nielsen found that the most popular album of 2014 was Taylor Swift's "1989" with more than 3.66 million copies sold. The top track of last year was Pharrell Williams' "Happy" followed by "All of Me" from John Legend and Katy Perry's "Dark Horse."