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Just looking at the latest stats from the RIAA that have come out for US sales:
"In 2016, revenues from sales of digital tracks and albums declined faster than in any previous year. Overall digital download revenues were $1.8 billion, down 22% versus 2015. Individual track sales revenue was down 24%, and digital album revenue was down 20% compared with the previous year"
I suspect that this year (2017), physical sales will exceed downloads again. They are probably already doing so, if you exclude ringtones (which get bundled with downloads).
The great revenue improver for the industry is streaming revenue which now amazingly comprises over 50% of all revenue. Streaming is not of much interest to the hi-res SACD community, as it is usually accompanied by the lowest quality sound (CD quality at best, if you are lucky) ... but I do use it as a method to help select my SACD purchases (for performance rather than audio quality).
Edits: 04/02/17Follow Ups:
The hi res download merchants may be fighting back. Look at Neil Young's Warner website. 29 hi res albums offered for $9.95 -14.99!
The current HDTracks sale is 20% off. It even applies to albums that are already on sale. With better pricing, hi res downloads have a better chance of succeeding.
HDTracks is unfortunately replete with content that is not hi-res, or didn't start off as hi-res to start off with, or got placed onto a SACD disc because it was multichannel or some other reason (but not hi-res source), and then finds itself on hdtracks as a ripped version of same, or offered as 24 bit 96KHz when the source 48KHz etc etc. Not really impressed.
2016 worldwide figures generally follow the USA trends but are not precisely comparable.
Worldwide figures ( source:IFPI), show physical formats continuing to decline and comprising 39% of revenue. Downloads still slightly exceed streaming (20% and 19% respectively). The remainder being made up of performance rights etc.
I think it is true to say that there must be large markets where physical formats have dominance and where downloading is comparatively uncommon and where streaming has yet to make a mark or even a start ( presumably the Far East).
High resolution formats are not shown separately in the general IFPI summary of 2016 but may be so in the Global Report , but that costs more than I am prepared to pay to enable a comment on AA ;-). I am willing to guess that they will form a minor contribution.
It is also easy to overlook the fact that fast internet connections are not universally available even in a highy developed country like my own.
It is also easy to overlook the fact that fast internet connections are not universally available even in a highy developed country like my own."
Houston, Texas, our internet download speed offered by AT&T is 12 Mbps, is this too slow for music download?
Faster download speeds are available from cable TV outfits.
12Mbs is a fast internet connection. I am talking about people who are lucky to get Kbs. On a good day. For many the internet exists only in a dream of the future.
Certainly 12Mbs should be more than fast enough for CD standard streaming. However at a basic level (which 12Mbs significantly exceeds for this example) simply meeting a textbook average transfer rate suitable for the medium in question will not guarantee a connection without drop outs, buffering etc. as the actual data rate available will fluctate.
If 12Mbs is what is offered as a maximum by the ISP assume that it will be lower in practice and may be substantially lower if you live some distance from the nearest major distribution point ( "Exchange" in British English but I don't know what term you may use for it), if it's a copper twisted pair ADSL or fibre etc. There are other constraints in practice depending upon the ISP and your contractual relationship with them.
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