The digital download hit middle age in 2013. Although retirement may be far in the future, the download is getting pushed aside as consumers opt to experience music in other ways.
Digital purchases are down almost across the board this year. Track sales are down 4.4% through Nov. 24, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Track-equivalent albums, where 10 tracks equal one album, are down 2.1%. Total digital purchases — tracks and digital albums — are down 4%.
Track sales have been falling all year. In the first half of 2013, U.S. consumers bought between 23 million and 25 million tracks per week. In October and November, weekly track sales dropped below 20 million.