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Music Downloads Down, Vinyl Sales Up

New York –Downloads of digital music tracks and digital albums fell in the first half, but vinyl LP records sales and music-on-demand streams were up, Nielsen found.

Declining digital-download sales have been cited by the music industry as the key reason that music companies are backing sales of high-resolution music downloads, which they hope will restore download growth.

CD sales were also down in the first half.

In the half, the number of individual songs downloaded fell 13 percent to 593.6 million, and the number of digital albums downloaded fell 11.6 percent to 53.8 million.

The number of CD albums sold fell 19.6 percent to 62.9 million, getting closer than before to the number of downloaded albums.

Though vinyl LP sales rose 40.4 percent to 4 million, the numbers still pale in comparison with the 62.9 million CDs sold and the 53.8 million digital albums downloaded.

The number of on-demand music-only streams rose 50.1 percent to 33.7 billion, and the number of on-demand music-video streams rose 35.2 percent to 36.6 billion, for combined growth of 42 percent to 70.3 billion.

“Streaming’s 42 percent year-over-year growth and vinyl LP’s 40 percent increase over last year’s record-setting pace shows interest in buying and consuming music continues to be robust, with two very distinct segments of the industry expanding substantially,” said Nielsen Entertainment senior VP David Bakula.

Nielsen developed the statistics by tracing U.S. music sales at the point of sale point-of-sale and tracking music streams.