New research from NPD Group estimates that in 2009 there were 24 million less US music buyers than in 2007. That’s a 21% drop in numbers, although with the average amount spent by each buyer rising 2%, it implies a 19% drop in total music spending. NPD’s numbers claim that the number of US people buying music downloads dropped from 35.2 million in 2008 to 34.6 million in 2009 – despite the fact that the number of files shared on P2P networks dropped sharply in the same time period. Another stat which may partially explain this: NPD claims that free online radio leads to a 41% increase in paid downloads, but free on-demand music leads to a 13% decrease in paid downloads.

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