Remember when record labels thought that digital distribution of music wouldn't catch on because consumers needed something tangible to hold on to (like a jewel case) to make them feel satisfied about their purchase? Well if you take a look at the Nielsen SoundScan report which tracks LEGAL digital downloads, it safe to say that jewel cases are an endangered species. Lets take a closer look, shall we.
In the week between Christmas and the new year, music consumers helped themselves to almost 20 million tracks from iTunes and other download retailers, nearly three times the one-week record for download sales (which was set just one week prior).
Fifteen songs on the Hot Digital Songs chart surpassed the previous one-week record of a single track, with the top eleven each selling over 100,000 downloads.
2005 saw a 147 percent increase in total download sales, up to 352 million from 2004's 142.6 million.
Notice a trend developing here? Looking around my own office, with CDs piled higher than my line of site and three giant shelves completely filled with CDs, I have to say that jewel cases are becoming more of a nuisance that anything else. I applaud the very few amount of artists that do something exceptional with their artwork (every band on Arts & Crafts, Wilco, Sigur Ros, Radiohead and others), but if I really need something pretty to look at, I'll buy the vinyl. This mentality is clearly starting to spread like wildfire, especially amongst the younger generations.
Jewel cases... who needs 'em!
Check out News.com.com for more downloading stats.