Global recording industry optimistic despite revenue fall

Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:04pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Top executives of the global recorded music industry said on Tuesday they were optimistic about growth despite figures for 2013 showing an almost 4 percent annual decline in revenues to $15 billion, blamed largely on the Japanese market.

The drop-off followed figures in 2012 which showed the industry, hard hit by illegal downloads and music piracy, registering its first revenue gains since 1999, to $16.5 billion.

In its latest annual report, the London-based industry federation IFPI said most of the decline in 2013 was due to a 16.7 percent revenue slump in Japan, which is making a belated transition away from physical products like CDs to digital delivery via the latest technology.

Excluding Japan, global revenues fell by 0.1 percent, the report said.

"There can be bumps in the future, no question, but it doesn't take anything away from the general direction the music industry is heading which is more digital, more services, more consumer choice and more consumer satisfaction with the services offered and probably more consumption," Edgar Berger, president and CEO, International, of Sony Music Entertainment, said at a news conference.

"So I personally believe it's going to be an absolutely growing business," Berger said.

Max Hole, chairman and chief executive officer of the international division of Universal Music Group, said the numbers were even more impressive given the deep hole the industry was in at the beginning of the last decade.

"You've clearly got evidence there are now music services that absolutely the consumer is engaging with," he said.   Continued...

A logo of Sony Corp is pictured on a glass case reflecting the company's Walkman series, which are portable music players, at the lobby of the company's headquarters in Tokyo February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao