Music sales slumping despite growing popularity in vinyl


Last year could have been better for the music industry. 

Paid downloads for albums were down 9 percent in 2014 and song downloads were down 12 percent, according to Nielsen Soundscan data

Music streaming continues to rise, however, increasing from 106 billion songs streamed in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014. 

But even though artists do get paid for streams on services such as Spotify and Pandora, it still likely doesn't fill the gap left by declining music sales. 

For instance, Pharell Williams' song "Happy" had 43 million streams on Pandora. That's quite a bit, but Fusion reports the service only paid out about $2,700 in songwriter and publisher royalties for that song.

>> Read more trending stories

It wasn't all bad though. Vinyl record sales continued to steadily increase and hit 9.2 million this year, the most since Nielsen began keeping track in 1991. (Video via CBS)

While that is great for an industry that has experienced declining sales across the board, vinyl by itself isn't likely to solve the music sales slump.

Some perspective: Jack White's "Lazaretto" was the best-selling album on vinyl with 87,000 copies sold in the U.S. 

Compare that to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," which topped the digital and CD sales lists with 3.66 million copies sold. (To be fair, Swift drove her sales up by pulling her entire catalog off of streaming sites.)

Digital Trends also points out another reason that vinyl isn't the music industry's saving grace. "Existing record pressing machines spent decades sitting dormant or were closed down entirely during the rise of CDs in the 1990s. As a result, no new record pressers have been made since the early 1980s."

So vinyl isn't exactly competing as the top medium in music, but its growth is still pretty impressive for an industry seeing a drop in sales in most other areas.

This video includes images from Getty Images. 



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list
BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list

Check out which films, stars and directors won big Sunday at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards in London.  Best film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding British film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: "I Am Not a Witch,"...
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers

Grammy award-winning recording artist Fergie was tasked with the pre-game national anthem for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. On paper, that sounds like a great choice, but many viewers thought it could have gone better. Critics pointed out that Fergie’s voice was oddly erratic during the anthem. One sequence even led Warriors forward...
Angela Davis: Activist, scholar still challenging status quo
Angela Davis: Activist, scholar still challenging status quo

What does it take to make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List? Ask Angela Davis. In 1970, the civil rights activist found herself on the list after President Richard Nixon labeled her a “dangerous terrorist” for her involvement with a murder case, leading to a manhunt and an iconic mug shot highlighting her towering Afro. Davis was a thorn...
Mother Mathilda Beasley: The mystery of Georgia’s first black nun 
Mother Mathilda Beasley: The mystery of Georgia’s first black nun 

Mother Mathilda Beasley died in 1903 in a small cottage owned by a Catholic church. She was worshipping at an altar she had built inside, and lying next to her were burial clothes, a will and instructions for her funeral. The details of her death stand in stark contrast to the many things that aren’t known about the life of Georgia’s first...
‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ recap in Barcelona: season 10, episode 13
‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ recap in Barcelona: season 10, episode 13

Posted by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog This has been an odd trip to Barcelona because the primary battle this week is between NeNe Leakes and – in absentia – Kim Zolciak. Kim is sowing chaos and she is 4,500 miles away. But she didn&rsquo...
More Stories