Digital Album Sales Go Down Following Apple’s Beats Acquisition

According to the latest data from Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS, who measure music sales and music streams respectively, overall album sales including physical and digital media, are down 14.9%, with digital album sales going down 11.6%, following Apple’s purchase of Beats Music. Meanwhile, on-demand streaming audio has surged 50.1% in the first six months of 2014 (via AppleInsider).


Nielsen’s data reveals that even though sales of albums through services like iTunes have declined, users have embraced streaming services. Total on-demand media is up 42%, with audio accounting for the most. Also, video on-demand has gone up 35.2% in the first six months of the year. Interestingly, one segment of the physical media market is actually growing i.e sales of vinyls, which increased to 4 million units, a 40.4% increase from 2013.

“The latest data showing the growth of streaming audio comes after Apple paid $500 million for Beats Music, an on-demand subscription service started by headphone maker Beats. Apple made it clear that the acquisition of Beats Music was key to its blockbuster $3 billion deal, as the company intends for it to complement its existing iTunes offerings. Apple already offers its own iTunes Radio service, but that relies on a series of randomized “stations” rather than allowing users to select their own tracks on demand.”

Apple has previously announced that it will keep the subscription Beats Music service intact, alongside the existing iTunes Radio free streaming.