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CD and mobile music sales fall in 2010, but vinyl continues its resurgence

Needle on the Record 

Vinyl is back.

While sales of compact discs and ringtones suffered double-digit declines last year, vinyl records enjoyed what appears to be an enduring resurgence in 2010, according to figures released Thursday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

CD sales dropped 21% in 2010 to $3.36 billion, down from $4.27 billion in 2009, said RIAA, whose members include the industry's largest record labels. Vinyl LP sales, meanwhile, surged 26%, albeit to a modest $4 million, up from $3.2 million in 2009. The increase comes partly from live DJs who prefer vinyl over digital and partly from a new generation of collectors who see them as valuable souvenirs.

On the digital front, mobile music sales, which is made up of mostly ringtones, dropped 28% to $527 million last year. Sales of individual song downloads grew just 2.1% in 2010 with more than 1.16 billion tracks sold, compared with 1.14 billion in 2009. But overall digital music revenue grew 10%, in large part because Apple Inc. last year raised the price of top selling tunes to $1.29 from 99 cents.

The price hike by Apple, which commands roughly 70% of the market for digital music downloads, may have slowed the number of songs people bought, but it resulted in an increase in overall revenue, which last year climbed to $2.24 billion, up from $2.03 billion in 2009. David Bakula, an analyst with Nielsen Soundscan, hinted at this outcome earlier this year when the company released its 2010 report, which reports only unit sales, not dollar amounts.

The uptick may not hold. Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday launched a price war, announcing it had sliced the prices of top-selling tunes to 69 cents from 89 cents. Many of the songs, including Katy Perry's "E.T.", Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," cost $1.29 on Apple's iTunes. You can read more about this price war in the Times' Pop & Hiss music blog.

Revenue from digital music subscriptions from services such as Rhapsody, eMusic, Rdio, MOG, Slacker and Napster fell 5.7% last year to $201 million, down from $213.1 million in 2009.

Combined, digital and physical music sales slipped 11% to $6.9 billion in the U.S. last year, roughly half the amount 10 years ago, said Russ Crupnick, music industry analyst at NPD Group.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: The soundtrack from the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" spins on a turntable at the Modern Hotel in Boise, Idaho, where members of the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho met in 2008. Credit: Associated Press / Troy Maben.

 

 

 

 

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

So to sum it up: Vinyl, the new/old up'n comer rose all the way to 4 million in sales, while the barely breathing, dying, ancient, unloved, finished and with one foot in the grave, sold 3.36 billion or about 900 times more in sales. Somehow I don't think we're going to again see a turntable in every home anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter.

It seems to me that allot of vinyl was destroyed when CD's,cassettes, etc came out even though the quality was more superior on vinyl. Now they are looking for the same crisp sound that they used to hear and it doesn't exist except on Pristine vinyl.It seems like somebody fooled us into jumping into every new Music upgrade, which wasn't an upgrade at all.The classics like beethoven ,Mozart on RCA red label vinyl the Cds and digital will never beat.

Vinyl may have better sound but I dumped mine when cd's came into existence because they are/were so much easier to move. Having a huge collection of music is just easier with cd's (for me).
Record companies priced themselves out of the market. When new, the price was high due to the technology being new. We were told that prices would come down when people started buying them. Prices NEVER came down. To pay $16 for a new cd is ridiculous to everyone except record companies.
Now we are supposed to feel sorry for them? Boo Hoo.

I never stopped listening to my vinyl records and now with the new growth and interest in them it has made it easier to find a goon Phono player.

Vinyl will never die! Long live vinyl!!

I make a living by spinning vinyl. I have been spinning records for over 18 years and collecting for over 25 years. I have 10,000 LPs, 78s & 45s in my collection. Without vinyl I would have no interest in playing music for people. I am not surprised at the increase of vinyl sales because I work in the industry. The people who are surprised probably haven't been to a record store for too many years. Go to one and see what I mean! Long live tactile music formats!!


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