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Sales of Digital Tracks Down as Streamed Listening Rises

Digital single sales off 6% in Q3

Consumers are listening to more streamed music and buying fewer digital tracks.

That’s according to Nielsen SoundScan, which says in the first nine months of the year, sales of digital singles fell 3.4% from last year, to $974.5 million.

Digital single sales were off 6%, to $292.4 million in the third quarter. It’s the first time sales of singles have declined since people began paying for music downloads.

The drop comes as consumers listen to more Internet audio services for free like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify.

Through the first half of 2013, streaming volume increased 24% over the same period a year ago, according to the sales tracking system.