Music sales post small rise in 2012, first since '99
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (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."
Record companies' digital sales rose about nine percent last year over 2011 to $5.6 billion and accounted for 34 percent of income overall.
Download sales increased 12 percent to 4.3 billion units globally. Digital album sales rose 17 percent to 207 million.
Subscription services such as Spotify and Deezer "came of age" last year, according to the IFPI, and are expected to cross the 10 percent mark as a share of total digital music revenues for the first time. Continued...