Digital music sales declined for the first time in 2013 since the iTunes Store opened a decade before, according to new data from Nielsen SoundScan. Sales of tracks declined 5.7%, to 1.34 billion units, while album sales fell 0.1%, to 117.6 million. The chief culprit, according to executive, is streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
For the first time since the iTunes store opened its doors, the U.S. music industry finished the year with a decrease in digital music sales. While the digital track sales decline had been expected due to weaker sales in the first three quarters, the digital album downturn comes as more of a surprise as the album bundle had started out the year with a strong first quarter. Overall for the full year 2013, digital track sales fell 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units while digital album sales fell 0.1% to 117.6 million units from the previous year’s total of 117.7 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.