Paid downloads were up 14 percent, and the average annual spend on iTunes, Amazon and other music stores was up 6 percent over the previous year to $49.
While many in the music industry might debate the stat, NPD found that illegal downloading was also down, decreasing to 13 perent of listeners from a peak of 19 percent in 2006.
Why all the good news? NPD sites several factors, including the improving economy and better music, but the final factor sits right where I've always suggested in previous blog posts and books. The research firms feels that increased use of online subscription music services like Pandora and Spotify was responsible, since consumers get a chance to sample the song, then become fans and choose to buy it rather than download it illegally.
One last stat that I found interesting; the study found that listing to online radio grew 29 percent from a couple of years ago, which means that a full 43 percent on Internet users currently engage in the action.
As I've always said, the music business in not dying. It may be changing, evolving and morphing, but people still enjoy music as much as ever.
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