First published on http://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/
But why is 2014 such a lackluster year, even compared to such a dismal decade? Even more puzzling, why have iTunes sales dropped 13% from last year? Some point the finger at online music piracy, but multiple studies have shown piracy has a positive effect on music sales, at least in recent years. A more plausible answer is the rise of online music streaming services, spearheaded by Spotify. According to Nielsen SoundScan, music streaming activity in 2013 increased by 32 percent while music sales decreased by 6.3 percent. Billboard also reports that Spotify boasts “40 million monthly active users including the 10 million paying [subscriptions] – one in four.” The 30 million who use the software for free have unlimited access to thousands of artists’ entire catalogs from the comfort of their laptop.