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Digital sales boost ailing music industry

Fall in music revenues slows as industry welcomes US piracy crackdown

Global music revenues last year fell by the smallest amount since 2004, as industry executives warned that the “hysterical” reaction to the proposed Sopa and Pipa laws in the US will not derail their worldwide battle against digital piracy.

Total global music sales dipped 3% in 2011 to .2bn (£10.4bn), according to estimates from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) published on Monday. The news came as record labels hailed US government action to crack down on pirate websites – and as usage and growth of legal music services surged.

CD sales, which account for two-thirds of global revenues, continued to plunge, falling 9% during the year. While the rate of decline is still sizeable, the fall remains an improvement over the 14% drop recorded in 2010.

Digital sales, meanwhile, rose by 8% in 2011, crossing the bn mark for the first time, a welcome sign after the alarm of 2010′s figures which saw growth more than halve year on year to 5%.

This was fuelled by the international expansion of Apple’s iTunes, Spotify and Deezer and a surge in users accessing content using smartphones and tablets. As a result the number of users paying to subscribe to a music service leapt 65% last year to 13.4 million. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds