Digital Music Sales Beat Physical Music Sales for the First Time

Illustration for article titled Digital Music Sales Beat Physical Music Sales for the First Time

It took longer than I thought it would (because physical music sales still makes the monies) but digital music sales has finally topped physical music sales. According to Nielsen and Billboard, digital music sales accounted for 50.3% of total music sales, more than half the pie. What took so long?


Well, even though physical music sales has been trending downwards (5% down in 2011) compared to digital music sales (8.4% up), physical album sales still outsell digital album sales (sorta makes sense, people still like buying albums). The difference has been that the growth of digital singles has finally grown big enough to overcome the album gap. After all, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to buy a single mp3 over a single CD or cassette or vinyl or 8track, right? Check out the full Nielsen report here. [BusinessWire via CNN, Image Credit: demarcomedia/Shutterstock]


I have to say, my media buying dropped off significantly after mainstream adoption of CDs. I absolutely LOVED vinyl and had a massive 4,000+ collection spanning not only my life (up to about age 30) but also my mom and dad who gave me all of their albmus. I had a really good quality turntable, tube amp, EQs and great speakers. I cared for those silly things like they were my children. Listening to music was an event. You went to a place in your home dedicated to it, sat down and just listened.

Now music is a portable soundtrack... backgrounds to our activities. Secondary to whatever we're doing.

Those were the days, for me. Sadly I lost it all in a move when it was destroyed by movers. The money I got in return came no where near to being able to replace all that. I didn't even remember everything I had.

I do still have a lot of CDs... maybe a hundred or so... but I never really liked them as much as those big, colorful cardboard sleeves and REAL liner notes with information you actually care about.

I do like the convenience of digital music, especially since CDs tend to have upwards of 15-20 tracks of mostly shitty filler stuff and only a few good pieces. So, now I can buy or stream just those and take everything with me everywhere. Pretty cool.

But I still miss they warmth and tone of vinyl and the nostalgia of caring for them and my old turntable. I think that's really all it is... nostalgia.