Home Report: Digital Music Sales Will Surpass CDs in 2012

Report: Digital Music Sales Will Surpass CDs in 2012

By now – the beginning of a new decade and well into the 21st century – it’s a story we’ve long come accustomed to: the music industry is dying a slow, painful, sputtering death at the hands of the Internet.

According to analyst firm Forrester’s latest report, 2009 was “a lousy end to an even lousier decade” for the music industry and we shouldn’t expect much different until at least 2013. Last year, as a matter of fact, was one of the worst years yet, with a 13% decline from the year before.

For much of the report, the numbers only confirm what we’ve already come to expect over the past decade. Music industry revenues in 2009 were $6.3 billion, less than half what they were in 1999, and people spent 32% less in 2009 on music than they spent in 2008.

Of course the economy can’t be helping these numbers, but Forrester sees this as a trend that is going to continue until it gradually starts to even out in 2013. By 2014, the company predicts music industry revenue to level off at around $5.5 billion with digital sales taking up most, but not all, of the slack.

The report also has one interesting event to note for 2012 and, no, it isn’t the destruction of the world at the hands of a Mayan death clock – digital music sales will finally surpass sales of physical media like CDs and vinyl.

While it goes on to say that 2010 will be a better year than 2009 for the growth rate of spending on digital music, the overall numbers will likely trend downwards after that, as shown in the graph above.

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