Nielsen SoundScan has released their Mid-Year report for 2013, and the results do not look promising. Digital track sales from January until June 30 were at 682.2 million, down 2.3% from the same juncture in 2012. This trend appears to be accelerating, as the decline went from 1.34% in the first quarter to 3.3% in the second quarter. While it is not exactly clear why this has happened, one theory seems to be a decline in sales of earlier works from artists, as sales of current tracks have actually slightly increased this year.
When it comes to digital album sales, those have actually increased in the last year, from 57.2 million units sold in 2012 to 60.8 million sold in 2013. Of course, album sales overall are once again on the decline, down 5.6% from last year's 150.5 million albums sold.
The picture is not entirely gloomy. A total of 51 songs have sold over one million units in 2013, up from 47 in 2012. Meanwhile, 15 albums have sold over 500,000 thus far this year, up from 11 last year.
Ultimately, things might be looking a bit down in 2013, but it does not seem to indicate that new tactics such as streaming are hindering the success of the industry. Besides, the jury is still out on some of the "#newrules" that have started to get implemented in the summertime.