A recent study by the NPD Group, a market research firm, concludes there was an increase in the number of music buyers in 2011. The NPD's article After Years of Defection, The Number of U.S. Music Buyers Is On The Up Swing offers several compelling figures. (All for 2011)
- 4% increase in total music track sales
- CD buyers increased 2% to 78 million
- Download buyers increased 14% to 45 million
- Annual average music expenditure increased 6% to $49 per user
- P2P users down to 13% from a peak of 19%
- Online radio listening increased, now penetrating 43% of internet users
It should be pointed out that physical CD sales actually decreased slightly in 2011, which would seem to contradict the fact that the number of CD buyers in the market increased 2%. What we are seeing is though the buyers of physical product increased 2%, the overall dollar amount spent by the 78 million on CD's actually decreased. The good news underlying the stat's is that if the number of music buyers continues to increase, then we are hopefully seeing a harbinger of better times.
We can also include the increase in streaming usage at services such as Spotify and Rhapsody as a portend to revenue growth in this important profit center. However, as I have stated previously, I am still reticent to be too enthusiastic about subscription services until we see more generous revenue payouts.