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Music Businesses

CDs, Vinyl Are Outselling Digital Downloads For the First Time Since 2011 (mercurynews.com) 136

Digital downloads had a short run as the top-selling format in the music industry. It took until 2011, a decade after the original iPod came out, for their sales surpass those of CDs and vinyl records, and they were overtaken by music streaming services just a few years later. Now, digital downloads are once again being outsold by CDs and vinyl, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. From a report: The RIAA released its 2017 year-end revenue report on Thursday, showing that revenue from digital downloads plummeted 25 percent to $1.3 billion over the previous year. Revenue from physical products, by contrast, fell just 4 percent to $1.5 billion. Overall, the music industry grew for a second year straight. And with $8.7 billion in total revenue, it's healthier than it has been since 2008, according to the report. Nearly all of the growth was the result of the continued surge in paid music subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music. Those services grew by more than 50 percent to $5.7 billion last year and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the industry's revenue. Physical media accounted for 17 percent, while digital downloads made up just 15 percent.
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CDs, Vinyl Are Outselling Digital Downloads For the First Time Since 2011

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  • Amazon autorip (Score:5, Informative)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @12:57PM (#56313873) Homepage Journal

    I've been buying CDs and never opening them when the CD version is cheaper or the same price as than the streaming version due to Amazon offering "AutoRip" on many CDs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Kids are using YouTube to listen to music, they don't buy music anymore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's cheaper just to rip them from YouTube. It's not like digital is less popular. You can't count this sort of thing just by sales, lol.

      • If I understand you correctly you are suggesting pirating as the cheaper option?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Of course he is. Welcome to Slashdot. Let me give you some points of how things run around here:

          • It's not piracy. It's copyright infringement. Because, heaven forbid we use a term with negative emotional connotations to call out user's piracy.
          • Piracy is not stealing, because it doesn't deprive the record store of the CD which they can sell to someone else. It doesn't matter, in Slashdot-think, whether we deprive the content creator money for their hard work.
          • Content creators have an intrinsic desire to creat
          • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @01:34PM (#56314167) Homepage Journal

            As long as I can drink rum and have a parrot, I don't care what you call it.

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              As long as I can drink rum and have a parrot, I don't care what you call it.

              The eye patch, peg leg and that all the music is shanties is kinda a downer though.

          • You forgot one point: " I'd pay the artists something if I had a chance, but the majors eat up all the revenue along the way, so why bother? "
            Otherwise it's a good sum up of the last 10 years of /. regarding copyright, indeed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Bored enough to refute this

            -Piracy implies personal profit from infringing material, which 99% of "pirates" do not do
            -Record stores don't create content, the artists create content, and there are a myriad of ways to support them without middlemen
            -Content creators, outside of the independent scene, are paid by publishers/labels before their content is released, and even then they only receive a small percentage after the record store/label takes their cuts
            -There have been multiple studies proving piracy does

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by OrangeTide ( 124937 )

              -Piracy implies personal profit from infringing material, which 99% of "pirates" do not do

              listening to music is your profit. You made use of a service, even if you didn't deprive someone of property.

              -Record stores don't create content, the artists create content, and there are a myriad of ways to support them without middlemen

              99% of "pirates" do not do this.

              -Content creators, outside of the independent scene, are paid by publishers/labels before their content is released, and even then they only receive a small percentage after the record store/label takes their cuts

              Then listen to independent artists that you pay directly if you can't agree to the arrangement in main stream music. If I don't like how gas stations work, I don't start siphoning gas out of random people's tanks

              -There have been multiple studies proving piracy does increase sales by providing advertising or allowing people who were otherwise not interested in paying full market price to get a taste of the content in question

              Certainly an interesting factoid. But is a society where you can receive a good or service without paying to the agree to price the kind of society you want?

              -Music in the late 90s/early 00s was indeed pretty shitty, with the rise of nu-metal and oversaturation of grunge rock

              Po

      • Re:Amazon autorip (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @01:23PM (#56314069) Homepage Journal

        It's cheaper just to rip them from YouTube. It's not like digital is less popular. You can't count this sort of thing just by sales, lol.

        Geez...does NO one care about fidelity at all anymore?!?!?

        Or, is that most modern music is so badly composed, performed and so compressed, that it isn't worth it to buy a good copy and play it on a really nice stereo system?

        • Beyond a certain point, no, nobody cares, because you really can't hear the difference. I've listened to FM radio since I was 12 years old (and still do, and that's a long time now); if it's at least that good, then I'm happy enough.
          That one time I was streaming 128kbps MP3's over stereo Bluetooth, however? That sounded awful, because BT uses it's own compression, on top of what the source is compressed with. Won't do that again.
        • Re:Amazon autorip (Score:4, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @02:46PM (#56314679) Homepage Journal

          What do you mean "any more"? The fidelity of a song downloaded from Youtube is much, much, better than a stereo tape recording of a clear, strong, FM radio broadcast, and probably better than a vinyl record too

          It might not be as good as CDs, let alone DVD Audio or SACDs, but it's a hell of an improvement on what we had in the past.

        • by c-A-d ( 77980 )

          It's a combination. modern music is so badly composed, performed and compressed that there is no difference between the youtube rip and a CD.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          Yes, you're right. Nobody cares about fidelity at all anymore.
          When you listen on headphones or cheap bluetooth speakers, there is no fidelity.

        • Oh boo hoo, "everything was better in the old days" is absolute bullshit.

          Popular music was shitty back then, and it's still shitty today. You only remember the stuff you grew up with as good, because you attach a bunch of emotional memories to it.

      • The numbers show the record companies got less MONEY from digital than from physical products, not that people listened to fewer songs. Downloads and streaming let the consumer get more music for little money.

        If you want FREE music there are millions and millions of songs on MySpace, free. 15 million people post their creations on myspace. If you want professionally produced, highly polished music and you want what the record companies pick out for you, contributing your $1 to the cost of that is not only

    • by rklrkl ( 554527 )

      This is true - even outside of Amazon, you will find CDs are often cheaper than their equivalent downloads (whoever thought 99p was a good price for a single download track is off their rocker). Autorip is useful, but it's almost as easy to run your favourite CD ripper (I use Grip on Linux) to get mp3's off your CD, the latter of which you just nicely file away as a backup.

      I usually then upload the MP3s to Google Play Music for free and can then download/cache any of them to any of my Android devices very e

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I only buy specific songs instead of those albums unless they have options to buy specific songs in a disc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Between "all-you-can-listen" streaming services and CDs/vinyls coming with free downloads with purchase of the disc, there's very little reason to buy digital tracks anymore. Not to mention they're counting total revenue, and most vinyls are at least $25-$30 minimum these days, compared to $10-$15 for CDs and $1 per track from most digital download stores.

  • for the music industry. I'm guessing this means people aren't buying music. We know CD sales our down and vinyl is a niche format for purists (or hipsters depending on your outlook). I'm guessing that it's not that CD/vinyl sales are up but that digital is down.

    Then again if they're switching to subscription services then as long as those services are profitable it's good for them. Might suck for the bands though who often make money selling those CDs at concerts. I hear they don't make jack off the su
    • read the summary again, music services are exploding, taking away share from physical and "downloads"

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        So for $120/Year you can play all the music you want.... The average CD cost about $10, so that's like buying 12 CDs a year....... However, MOST people listen to a few dozen artists or a few songs they'll want to listen to over and over again, and before the advent of streaming services might have purchased 2 or 3 CDs per year.... ~$20 or $30/Year in music tops.

        So let me get this straight... the avg. subscriber will now pay 6 TIMES as much per year to listen to probably roughly the same

        • eh, I think 1 CD per month at least is more usual given my collection size I mostly stopped adding to about 15 years ago.

          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            Ok, well the thing is not all people are exactly the same, and there is something to be said to
            occasionally buying buying a month of a streaming service to allow easy exploration of a large number of albums without buying them.

            But buying music and obtaining permanent ownership seems to have the long-term major cost advantage.

        • For a lot of people, it may be a bad thing to use streaming instead of purchases. For many - including myself - it's a godsend. I have over 3000 CDs/albums I purchased prior to 2012 (the last time I bought an album); now for just $20/month I have redbook-or-better audio, for 46+ million tracks, and I can listen to it any time, any where, via my cell phone. I use Tidal and Pandora. I use Pandora to explore new genres, and when something catches my ear I can go and download it and decide if I like the ent
          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            I have over 3000 CDs/albums I purchased prior to 2012 ....

            Having literally millions of albums available to me with a few clicks is huge

            Found the addict. Even after building a massive 3000 CD collection, you would still be acquiring multiple CDs' worth a month?

            Well, there are a few things to keep in mind here... (1) In spite of "millions" of tracks; I have Albums with songs that are not available available on CD, and i've CDs that are not available on any streaming service i've found --- so the ul

            • Out of ~20,000 tracks in my collection (all ripped from CDs or paid downloads from sites like Bandcamp), I found that ~1,500 were not available on Spotify. Most of these are independent self-published artists, rare remix albums and obscure local music that has probably sold less than 1000 albums in total between them. The majority of that stuff I wouldn't expect to find on any streaming service, to be honest.

              I was (and am) generally satisfied with my collection, it's full of stuff I really like. Most of it

        • How many people do you know who only buy 2-3 CDs per year? That's how many I used to buy every month, on average.

          Sure, there are some people out there who only buy one or two "greatest hits" albums once in a blue moon, but those people are sad and boring.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm guessing that it's not that CD/vinyl sales are up but that digital is down.

      You're guessing? I'm not asking you to RTFA, but at least peruse TFS.

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @01:04PM (#56313929)

    66% is music services

    the fact that downloads are separate and of the same order as CD or Vinyl is rather irrelevant, the main way of getting music is through the internet and physical media is dying.

  • by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @01:13PM (#56313991)

    Boo hoo, RIAA. So, it hasn't been even this high since 2008? And streaming/downloads only makes up $1.3B of that? Unreal. It's a mere 1/8th of your total revenue stream. That's not news, it's just bragging that your portfolio shifted around and you're making more, but in different areas. If I had to guess, I'd fall into the same thought processes as others and say it's the Amazon-like approach of selling an 'pre-ripped' album that also comes with the tangible CD/Vinyl, too, albeit for a slight markup more --- and it makes sense for some because you get it encoded for none of your time and it's instant use. Then your second surprise shows up in the mail a few days later you never open and shelf as a nostalgic backup.

    This is like the NFL complaining about how 'viewership' is down this here for baseless excuses and is really impacting their product, but still manage to increase their entire network every year.

    I'm surprised to see that "CD/Vinyl" is the excuse vs. pirating. Never see a witch-hunt for that as long as it's making you something.

  • This isn't going to apply to all new releases but most of what I buy comes with a download link. I can buy the nice gatefold vinyl with all the cool artwork and it will have a download code inside so I can get my FLACs at no additional cost. It's the best of both worlds. CDs ordered through bandcamp often come with an immediate download link on purchase too. The included download may have been a large contributing factor to physical sales dominance.
  • What's really going on is the music sellers are moving to the cable company model where they will not let you cherry pick the songs you want to buy and they will boil your frog-like ass for years until you are paying $100 per month for music.
    Are any of you cord cutters feeling the heat yet? I thought not, you stupid frogs.

    • Just like how the music industry cherry picks the songs it wants you to buy with radio stations.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      What's really going on is the music sellers are moving to the cable company model where they will not let you cherry pick the songs you want to buy and they will boil your frog-like ass for years until you are paying $100 per month for music. Are any of you cord cutters feeling the heat yet? I thought not, you stupid frogs.

      "Boiling the frog" is a myth. Thermal regulation by relocation is actually a very important part of any cold blooded animal's survival strategies. Frogs will relocate when the local temperature becomes uncomfortable no matter how slowly it got there.

    • Don't listen to music published by the big labels, then.

      There is a ton of independent music out there that is just as good or better.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is all because of Music as a service. We recently found an album that we wanted on CD. We thought, "hey let's buy that on Amazon/iTunes." Nope, only available with a subscription.

  • I subscribe to Apple Music. Which has been nice for selection and so on...

    But recently I wanted to actually buy a song. Even though it was also available "for free", to support the artist beyond the pittance he would earn through my streaming the song.

    How to do so? I still have no idea, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to get to a real purchase page before I gave up.

    You have to think that streaming is killing sales in general though...

  • TFA is at the Mercury News web site, and credits Derek Hawkins at the Washington Post. But TFA says its source is a Medium post by the RIAA's Cary Sherman, and sure enough if you go to the RIAA's web site you can find a post with a link to the Medium post as well as to the RIAA's actual report: https://www.riaa.com/riaa-rele... [riaa.com]

    ProTip for submitters and editors: if TFA has a source, the source may well be on the web too, and may have real actual data.
  • I haven't bought an MP3 in years but I still buy CDs from time to time.

    LK

  • Look, I support the artists, not the music industry.

    I buy my LPs and CDs (and DVDs) direct from the artists at performances, where they get 50 percent of the take, not via Amazon or some digital intermediary who takes 99 percent of the cash and maybe, if they feel like it, gives the artists less than 1 percent.

    Oh, check out Giants in the Trees and Golden Gardens, they are excellent!

    I'll be buying more at performances like UpStream this summer.

    • I don't buy CDs or LPs anymore, they just take up space on my shelves. Especially the CDs, which I rip and then basically never touch again. A lot of the artists I like are on Bandcamp, where 85-90% of the take goes straight to the artist, so I like buying music there rather than at shows.

      But I make sure to buy a t-shirt or a patch or even just some stickers at shows instead.

  • Removing digital music due to the cover art and lyrics for political reasons?
    With physical copies that music is safe with the person who enjoys music.
    Safe from brands and political SJW who feel they can ban digital music.
  • 1) Better, uncompressed quality on CD.

    2) No DRM crap to block access to the recording, its safely and durably stamped onto disc permanently and playable on any non internet connected CD player.

    CDs are sort of becoming a nostalgia item, hearkening back to the pre internet days, the era of fancy hi-fi systems and CD players with fancy controls and LCD readouts, while remaining the most practical and best quality format available, surpassing the durability of other nostalgia platforms such as Vinyl .

    Clearly, C

    • I never had all that many CD's, maybe 50 - 60. But even I've found a few here and there in the last couple years that won't play anymore in a standard CD player. The disks are in good shape, very few if any scratches, I'll have to try them on my computer and see if I can get anything out of them. They're coming up on twenty years old and been stored along with all my other discs that still play.

    • Nah, the CDs is simply an obsolete format for data. Lossless downloads are better.

  • Cars with drivers, and horses, combined, are outselling self-driving cars.

    How much of the "CDs and vinyl are outselling" is CDs and how much is vinyl? I suspect it isn't 50/50.

    • by Jiro ( 131519 )

      Whoops, the article does say. And it isn't 50/50, although it's far more vinyl than I'd expect.

  • I have mainly bought CDs for years because I didn't trust online sources not to delete my media if all I have is a digital copy. Yep, iTunes has done that. You get to download only once and if you change players, so sorry you don't have the songs you paid for any more. Amazon seems more reliable but for music I want to keep, I get a physical copy.

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