Finally, some good news for the music industry, According to the NPD Group, total music-track sales increased 4% during 2011.
After years of decline, the total number of people buying compact discs increased for the second straight year, up 2% in 2011 to 78 million buyers. Consumers cited a number of factors for purchasing more CDs, including perceived quality improvement, better value at a greater ability to learn about music (through radio and online sources).
Among digital downloaders, the number of buyers increased 14% to 45 million total, with average annual expenditures increasing 6% to $49 in 2011.
“Despite all of the exciting online radio options, we are still seeing healthy growth in the market for digital-music downloads,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “This growth is fueled by an increase in mobile devices, and a core base of consumers who want to own the music they listen to, despite all of the emerging radio options.”
Perhaps just as importantly, the company also noted a decrease in unpaid music downloads. According to NPD, 13% of Internet users downloaded music from a file-sharing site, down from a peak of 19% in 2006.