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The best things in life appear to be free as use of online streams gains ground.Sales of digital downloads have stalled with the advent of the internet as reports from the US Billboard charts show that track sales for both albums and singles are up just 5 percent compared to the same time last year, according to Reuters.

Music lovers purchased 95 million tracks in total to November 2010, just one third of the figure for the same time last year (277 million).

Growth in singles track sales were completely static.

Album sales fared a little better however, with artists including the latest teenage craze, country music star, Taylor Swift’s new album, ‘Speak Now,’ selling 390,000 copies and the Beatles’ catalog at iTunes, helping to buoy album download sales by 12 percent.

This comes as competition in the download industry  heats up with newcomers like direct-to-fan music providers Nimbit and Topspin and video streaming site Pandora all ruffling feathers, with their online MP3 offerings and purchasing facilities.

Established players including Amazon are lowering their prices in a bid to lure iTunes users, which sold its 10 billionth song download in February this year, and the store and is currently said to account for around 70 percent of the download market worldwide.

 

Other alternatives are also on the rise with music lovers tuning into video streaming sites such as YouTube, which provided more than 1 billion music videos from the top five music labels every week, according to the Reuters report.

YouTube usage also rose even further in 2010 and online internet radio offering
audio formats including MP3, Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media Audio is also
gaining popularity.

Pandora, another user generated video site offering music, VOD and live video streaming site also has 65 million registered users, and is a massive player in Asian market in particular.

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