sales tax on music

Keep the tunes playing all month long: In October 1975 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched an initiative to promote music and its potential to facilitate communication and respect between countries, naming Oct. 1 International Music Day. Whether that means attending a Beyonce or Adele concert, buying symphony tickets, or just a digital download through popular services such as Apple iTunes and Spotify, October is a great month to expand your musical horizons.

Avalara CommerceTracker analyzed music and video sales in the last 12 months. Despite the pervasive availability of free “cloud” access to music, according to the latest data, “same firm” year-over-year sales of music actually increased slightly by 3% – good news for musician artists. October, November and December have the highest discounts for music buyers.


Taxation on music and video products has taken a turn toward the complex in recent years. While media contained in physical goods — CDs, DVDs, printed sheet music — is typically taxed like any other tangible personal property, sales today often consist of digital goods.

Each state handles taxation of digital goods differently. In some states, like Washington (which has the highest average effective tax rate of any state for music sales), digital goods have been made explicitly taxable according to the law. Other states tax only physical purchases of music, losing potential revenue but making digital downloads cheaper.

CommerceTracker is always watching for the latest commerce trends. Stay tuned for more.