Music milestone

Digital music

50.3%

Nielsen SoundScan have announced their 2011 tally of full year music sales and airplay for the 52-week period 03 January 2011 through 01 January 2012.  With it comes hundreds of interesting data points if the music industry is your thing, the report also included one specific item that has been making headlines the world over: for the first time in history digital music purchases exceeded physical sales, accounting for 50.3% of all purchases.  

Music's download decadeBelow is an excerpt from the announcement specific to digital music:

  • For the first time, digital music sales are larger than physical sales; accounting for 50.3% of all music purchases in 2011.
  • Digital track sales set a new record with 1.27 billion sales in 2011; an increase of 100 million sales (8.4%) over 2010.
  • Digital album sales exceeded 100 million for the first time with a new all-time high of 103.1 million sales (up from 86.3 million in 2010); an increase of nearly 20%.
  • Digital album sales accounted for nearly 1 out of every 3 album purchases (31%) in 2011; compared to 26% in 2010, 20% in 2009, 15% in 2008, 10% in 2007 and 5.5% in 2006.
  • Nearly all digital album genres had a positive year in 2011; except for Soundtracks which were down just over 2% compared to 2010.
  • While total digital album growth was 20% in 2011, there were a number of digital album genres that experienced even higher digital growth.
    • Rap and Electronic digital album sales (up 42%)
    • Country and R&B digital album sales (up 27%)
    • Latin digital album sales (up 23%)
  • For the last week of 2011 (week ending 1/1/2012), digital album sales set a new high with sales of 3.5 million.
  • Digital track sales for Pop, Rock, R&B/Hip Hop and Country genres all had double digital growth in 2011; 24%, 23%, 20% and 11% respectively.
  • For the first time, a digital song had more than five million downloads in a calendar year; Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” sold 5.8 million downloads and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” sold 5.5 million.
  • For the first time, more than 100 Digital Songs (112) exceeded the 1 million sales mark for the year.
  • In 2011 there were 38 different digital songs with sales that exceeded two million (compared to 37 in 2010, 31 in 2009, 19 in 2008 and nine in 2007).
  • In 2011, eight different artists broke the 10 million digital track sales mark.

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