In April 2013, Apple’s iTunes music store turned 10. Ten years later, iTunes is the top destination for music purchases, accounting for 63% of all digital music sales. The Recording Industry Association of America reported that in 2003, total revenue from music sales was about $38 billion; 10 years later music sales sank to $16.5 billion. Music sales reached their peak in 2000 when Americans purchased more than 943 million CDs while digital singles were negligible. Fast forward to 2007: 819 million digital singles were sold, compared to 500 million CDs sold in that same year. By 2013 that gap widened dramatically: 1.4 billion digital singles versus 200 million CDs sold.
Despite the fact that music revenues have steadily decreased over the past ten years, the modern consumer spends a good portion of their disposable income on music to feed their ravenous digital devices. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, that not only lists world records but includes fascinating trivia in the margins of its pages, the average person spends $2,792 during their lifetime. On top of that, a person will spend an additional $3,163 to watch their favorite music artists perform live, bringing the total spent on music to $5,955. And that should be music to the recording industry’s ears.
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For further reading: Guinness Book of World Records 2012, edited by Craig Glenday, Guinness Publishing (2011).