Music Sales: Falling or Rising?

The bad news for the music industry: Teenagers bought less music last year, according to a recently released survey commissioned by the Recording Industry Association of America. The good news: Middle-aged folks bought more, according to the same survey.

The poll, released June 25 and reported by both Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswire, indicates that music sales to consumers aged 19 and younger fell from 25% of overall sales in 1998 to 21% last year. Music sales to consumers over 45 years of age rose from 18% of the total market in 1998 to 25% in the same period.

The decline in purchases by teens is consistent with reports linking it with an increase in downloading music files over the Internet and "burning" CD copies with computers, but the 7% increase in the middle-aged market more than offsets the 4% decline among teens.

Net gain: Overall, the music industry enjoyed a sales growth of 6% in 1999, for a total of $14.6 billion. No clear conclusions can be drawn regarding the effects of Internet music on music sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.