New York – The number of U.S. music purchasers declined by
24 million between 2007 and 2009, a drop of 21% during a period when consumers
were purchasing far fewer CDs but beginning to experiment more with digital
music, according to data presented by market research firm NPD Group at Digital
Media Wire’s Digital Music Forum East conference in New York this week. The
market lost 33 million CD buyers between 2007-2009; the number of Americans
purchasing digital song downloads also dropped, from 35.2 million in 2008 to
34.6 million in 2009.

NPD analyst Russ Crupnick attributed the digital falloff to
consumers experimenting with downloads and then losing interest.

Meanwhile, the
amount consumers are spending on digital song downloads rose from an average of
$33 per year to $50 per year.

NPD also found that free Internet radio services
like Pandora lead to a 41% increase in paid downloads, while free, on-demand
services like Spotify actually led to a 13% drop in paid downloads.

some people, more listening just means more listening and tends to lead to less
purchasing," Crupnick remarked.

NPD also found a precipitous drop in the
number of songs being shared on peer-to-peer networks, which was attributed to growing
competition from legal services; fear of spyware; and music shared via other
means, like swapping hard drives.


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