Numbers for Digital's Rise

I talk a lot to people who don’t quite understand the scale of the media shift from atoms to bits (update: corrected), so I always have my eyes open for numbers and anecdotes that illustrate the point. The latest I found are from an article on Apple’s threat to shut the iTunes store if it has to pay more to songwriters:

Digital downloads grew 38 per cent from 2006 to 2007 to become a $1.26 billion business, making up 23 per cent of the market for recorded music, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Sales of physical music media such as CDs, cassettes and DVDs declined 19.1 per cent to $7.5 billion in the same one-year period.

I’m still looking for convincing numbers on film and TV movement to digital. For example, does anyone have numbers on how well Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog (the web-only offering from Buffy creator Joss Wedon) did?

tags: , ,
  • Shouldn’t it be “from atoms to bits”? Regards, tamberg

  • I think this is neither “bits to atoms” or “atoms to bits”. CDs are clearly digital media, so we are just talking about a media change.

    Whenever O’Reilly media has used the “bits to atoms” concept, I understood it to mean a shift from the digital/programmming world back to real world of atoms. An example might be creating new DNA molecules.

  • At the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, around half of the films shown were shot on HD Video. I noticed there were a lot of them, so I went through the program counting them. I think it was more than half.

  • Well, Safari is up to 15% for O’Reilly’s book business. Add in other forms of digital sales (PDFs, mobi, etc. – still only a few percent), and books may soon catch up with music.

  • @tamberg – thanks for the correction. I’ve applied the patch :)

    @Alex Tolley – Good point, my title should perhaps have been “the rise of digital downloads”. Thanks.

  • Didn’t Negroponte mean “atoms to bits” in the sense that to move bits needs you to book Fedex and fill in a customs form, whilst bits means hit the attach and send button.. or fetch on a dog-day?

  • Steve Lynch

    I’m not sure if Dr. Horrible’s is the bellwether in this space. :)

    I think that peopel want an ebook reader to compete with the Kindle, and then we’ll see some movement in books.