Digital Music Sales Decline for First Time Since Opening of iTunes Music Store

Digital music sales are down for the first time in a decade.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, it’s the first year-over-year decline of digital music sales since Apple opened the iTunes Music Store in 2003.

Individual digital song sales fell nearly 6% in 2013, dropping from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units. Digital album sales dipped 0.1% to 117.6 million units.

However, digital sales still fared better than their physical counterparts—vinyl being the suddenly-cool-again exception. CD sales declined nearly 15%, while vinyl sales rose 30%. CDs still make up 57% of all album sales, compared with digital accounting for 41%.

Fortunately for Apple, iTunes isn’t hurting, regardless of the digital decline: the music store gained market share in 2013 and now accounts for 41% of all US album sales, while stores like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy saw substantial decreases in sales.

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