The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently published the sales figures (shipment figures) for the recorded music market in the US for 2013. Accordingly, digital sales increased by 7.6 percent to US$ 4.36bn from 2012 to 2013. Nevertheless, overall sales (digital and physical) slightly decreased by 0.3 percent from US$ 7.016bn to US$ 6.996bn in 2013. Thus, the sales decline of 12.3 percent (US$ -325m) in the physical product (CD, vinyl, DVD, SACD) could not be compensated by the growth of the digital music market. All in all, digital music sales accounted for 64 percent of the overall recorded music sales in 2013.
The strong increase of digital music sales is fueled by the booming music streaming and subscription segment, which grew 39 percent in 2013, generating US$1.4bn in revenue. However, single track download sales shrank by 3.3 percent (US$ -54.6m) in the same period. Digital album sales have slightly increased by 2.4 percent or US$ 28.7m from 2012 to 2013. These figures seem to indicate a cannibalizing effect of music streaming on download sales, even if we consider recent price cuts by digital music distributors.
The following analysis does not only highlight the digitization process of the recorded music market in the US in past thirteen years, but also the tremendous change of the digital music market segment.