Music sales post small rise in 2012, first since '99

Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:02am EST
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* Global music revenues rise for first time since 1999

* Increase in 2012 marginal at 0.3 percent

* Follows decade of deep losses, digital services key

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The music business broke a 12-year losing streak in 2012, posting a small but symbolic 0.3 percent rise in trade revenues to $16.5 billion, figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) showed on Tuesday.

The slight increase will come as a relief to record label bosses who have watched the value of sales plummet from a peak of $28.6 billion in 1999, as illegal downloads and a reluctance to embrace the digital age hit revenues hard.

Once again it was the digital sector that showed the strongest growth, and for the first time more than compensated for losses in physical revenues.

"At the beginning of the digital revolution it was a common theme to say digital is killing music," said Edgar Berger, president, international, at Sony Music Entertainment.

"Well the reality is, digital is saving music. I absolutely believe that this marks the start of a global growth story. The industry has every reason to be optimistic about its future."   Continued...