Industry figures are seeping out for sales in the third quarter, and it’s a mixed picture. In the US, digital track sales were down nearly 6% year-on-year to 292.4m units in Q3, following a 3.3% fall in Q2 and a 1.3% fall in Q1. And even digital album sales fell in the third quarter: down nearly 5% to 26.9m units. In the UK, the picture was more positive, with digital album sales up 3.5% to 7.5m units in Q3, although single sales – almost entirely digital – were down 3.1% to 43.9m units. The overall picture is of digital SALES on a downturn, which is being greeted by varying levels of gloom according to existing viewpoints (e.g. Digital Music News: ‘The Slow and Painful Death of the Download Continues’). As ever, what’s missing from these unit-sales figures are stats for overall revenues, including streaming. It’s reasonable to suggest that the growth in streaming is having an impact on a la carte of digital tracks and albums, but the more important question is how well streaming revenues are offsetting that sales decline. It’ll be 2014 before we have definitive data on that for both the US and UK.

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