What year did downloaded music start outselling CDs/vinyl?

Very short post, with the heart of it in the title above, so as to encourage FriendFeed participation.

This is a test of your digital awareness. Without looking it up, try to answer that one question:

In what year did downloaded music (iTunes, etc.) start outselling music-on-containers (CDs, vinyl, etc.), worldwide?

Comments will remain open until Saturday, July 3, after which I’ll comment on the responses.


The apparent answer: According to the sources I’ve seen, the answer is “2011, probably.”

Which is also to say: It hasn’t happened yet.

So Davin’s right, Stephen’s close enough, and John’s…not so much.

6 Responses to “What year did downloaded music start outselling CDs/vinyl?”

  1. Stephen Francoeur Says:

    This year?

  2. Davin Says:

    I’m pretty sure they haven’t yet.

  3. John Klima Says:

    I will blindly say 2008. No real reason, just picking a year.

  4. walt Says:

    See change in post: Davin’s right, and sources say that it will probably happen next year (2011).

  5. Davin Says:

    For the record, I’m relatively young (30) and still buy loads…LOADS of music in physical media (some vinyl, mostly CD). I’m versed in the various digital music distribution channels, both legitimate and not so-. I even subscribe to a monthly streaming “cloud” service (Rhapsody). But if I think I’m going to listen to a record more than 3 or 4 times, I’m probably going to end up buying it in a form I can hold. So I always laugh when I read articles that treat people who still buy physical media like Bigfoot – smelly and possibly mythical.

  6. walt Says:

    Davin: I’m sure you’re not alone–probably not even close to it. The Simple Story–“digital sweeps away analog, inevitably, rapidly and wholly”–is almost always wrong, but it’s simple and compelling. I’m seeing lots of stories that say X will replace Y the way downloads replaced CDs, always assuming that this has already happened and is pretty much universal.


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