Nielsen SoundScan: music downloads dramatically increased in 2006, up over 67% year-over-year

Nielsen SoundScan has reported a dramatic growth in the sales of digital music downloads for 2006. Through the first 49 weeks of 2006, sales of individually downloaded digital tracks are up more than 67% over the same period in 2005, accounting for more than 525 million digital downloads; already 173 million more than 2005’s annual total.

Historically digital downloads have dramatically increased year-over-year. In 2005, digital track sales reached 353 million; 150% higher than total track sales for all of 2004. In 2004, digital download track sales broke the 100 million mark with more than 140 million digital tracks sold.

In 2006 to date, 54 tracks have sold more than 500,000 units as opposed to only 22 tracks in all of 2005. None reached that sales mark in 2004.

Digitally downloaded albums have increased more than 100% with 29.7 million YTD in 2006 versus 14.5 million in the same time period in 2005. In 2006 to date, 11 albums have sold more than 100,000 units digitally comparing to only 3 for the entire year in 2005 and none in 2004.

“It is clear that digitally downloaded music is continuing to enjoy tremendous and growing consumer acceptance,” said Rob Sisco, President Nielsen Music, in the press release.

Nielsen SoundScan tracks digital download sales from more than two dozen providers in the U.S. including every major digital music retailer. Nielsen SoundScan data coverage represents more than 95% of the digital music sales market.

Nielsen SoundScan aggregates sales data from more than 20,000 retailer locations in the U.S., accounting for more than 20 million sales transactions per week, representing more than 90% of retail music product sales in the U.S. The weekly Billboard Magazine music charts are based on Nielsen SoundScan information.

Related articles:
Apple’s iTunes Store back to normal after post-Christmas rush – December 28, 2006
Post-Christmas traffic surge briefly overwhelms Apple’s iTunes Store – December 28, 2006
Apple iTunes visits skyrocket 413% on Christmas Day – December 27, 2006
Apple’s iTunes Store sells 90% of paid video downloads – December 20, 2006
Enderle revels in ‘collapsing’ iTunes Store sales that are actually surging – December 18, 2006
comScore: Apple iTunes sales are surging; revenue grew 84% during first 3 quarters of 2006 – December 14, 2006
Apple Computer shares rise on target price increase, positive iTunes sales forecast – December 13, 2006
Forrester’s Bernoff: ‘iTunes sales are NOT plummeting! Press credibility, on the other hand…’ – December 13, 2006
Jim Cramer on Apple iTunes Store and ‘that stupid Forrester survey’ – December 13, 2006
Piper Jaffray: Apple iTunes Store sales show strong year-over-year growth – December 13, 2006
Apple on Forrester report: ‘the conclusion that iTunes sales are slowing is simply incorrect’ – December 12, 2006
Blackfriars’ does the math: Apple iTunes sales are not ‘collapsing’ – December 12, 2006
iTunes interest climbs as one analyst claims falling sales – December 12, 2006


  1. To: Drank the Kool-aid and loving it

    I would have a different view on that. It was iTunes that started me on digital music downloads. It was iTunes that lead to my purchase of an iPod. It was iTunes that lead to my purchase of an iPod and then, within 2 years, 7 other Macintosh computers.

    I think iTunes contributes quite a bit to the picture here. It is paired with iPod for a reason – they work so well together you want to try other Apple products.

    For me, it all started with iTunes on Windows.

  2. Looking at these numbers, it doesn’t seem to far fetched to expect December sales to flirt with the 100 Million mark.

    Especially seeing as there will be THIRTY MILLION new iPods out there. Maybe.


    MW: ‘maybe’

  3. Enderlie will not believe the figures Jobs gives in his MacWorld Keynote either.

    As the Flat Earth Society has proved, over and over again, if you have a good theory, you ignore the facts and stick with that theory come hell or high water.

    The Global Warming Bunch is a branch of the Flat Earth Society, in case you didn’t know.

  4. Global Warming.. very erratic weather patterns…. as well as rising temps. Here in Minneapolis, the second year in a row, at least, the city parks department didn’t set up rinks on lakes… not enough ice. Today’s high? 45°F. Record number’s of extinctions…… something’s going on… caused by human activity? My hunch says yes.

    “The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” Bertrand Russell

  5. Drank the Kool-aid and loving it wrote:

    Who cares? iTunes adds very little to Apple’s bottom line.

    Yes, but by design iTunes is not meant to be an Apple cash machine — directly. But it sells iPods and places a key piece of Apple’s software and content distribution infrastructure on its own and competitors computers. The fact that direct profits for iTunes are so low prevents any competing independent download business from being successful. The fact that iTunes operates at a any profit at all keeps Apple from being accused of cross subsidizing its iTunes operation.

    Such a plan!

  6. Look at that graph! See! It’s just as I told you! Sales are so bad that there were NO SALES IN DECEMBER! SEE! You call me crazy, but no sales MEANS SALES ARE TANKING! NOT ONE (1) BLESSED P MUSIC SOLD IN DECEMBER! YOU ALL OWE ME A BEER! NO> A CASE OF BEER! YES! YESSSS!

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