Remember when people used to pay for music? Neither do consumers, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A Businessweek article claims that Nielsen found that downloads of songs to iPods, computers and other devices have stalled, growing only 0.3% this year. While that’s an increase, it sure isn’t much of one. Market researcher NPD Group reports that the number of people using digital music stores like iTunes and Amazon has leveled off at around 40 million people, with streaming sites like Pandora increasingly becoming where many go to hear music.
The article also claims that another way labels are losing money in the digital space is ringtones, or lack thereof. It’s hard to think that anyone is paying for ringtones these days, but they’ve only fallen 24% since their peak of $714 million in 2007. While it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for an industry that ten years ago was charging $19 for something that cost $1 to make, labels still have way more distribution and marketing than trying to do it yourself, so if you like an artist, download their music legally.