Digital music sales on iTunes are actually falling

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Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and the associated Beats Music subscription service may have raised eyebrows in some quarters, but the move makes all the more sense when you consider this report from the Wall Street Journal. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ reports that digital music sales on iTunes have fallen from between 13 percent and 14 percent globally since the start of the year. This is in contrast to the 2.1 percent dip it reportedly experienced in 2013.

Digital music sales at Apple Inc. ’s iTunes store have fallen 13% to 14% world-wide since the start of the year, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring the fragility of the music industry’s nascent recovery. The dive in download sales is stark compared with a much shallower dip last year. Global revenue from downloads fell 2.1% in 2013, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but that decline was offset by increases in revenue from ad-supported and subscription streaming services, resulting in overall digital revenue growth in most markets last year. Factoring in CD sales, which have been plunging for well over a decade, overall music sales in most of the world held steady last year. Japan was an exception, with steep drops in physical and digital sales alike. World-wide revenue from recorded music totaled $15 billion in 2013.

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