Will Spotify kill the music download?
By taking a look at the latest numbers, technology writer Charles Arthur presents the argument that the digital download will die sooner than CDs thanks to ever-dominating streaming services.This article originally appeared on The Guardian
Rapper Drake broke the record for the longest uninterrupted reign at the top of the UK singles chart – largely due to streaming. Photograph: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images
Apple’s iTunes store revolutionised the music industry, but now streaming reigns supreme and even vinyl is fighting back
The digital download, ushered in to the mass market more than a decade ago by Apple’s iTunes music store, is in rapid decline as people shift to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
The shift from downloads to streaming is highlighted by the biggest-selling singles of this year and 2006, when Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy became the first download-only song to top the UK charts, in a sign the digital format was eclipsing CD sales. Crazy shifted nearly 661,000 units during its nine weeks at UK No 1 and went on to sell more than 1m downloads.
This summer, Drake’s One Dance matched the record achieved by Wet Wet Wet’s Love Is All Around for 15 weeks at No 1 in the UK singles chart – which now combines download, physical and streaming equivalent sales. By the end of September, it had racked up 1.695m sales, including nearly 505,000 downloads and a whopping 119m streams...