Global 2010 recorded music sales fall about 9 percent

Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:30am EST
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By Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) - Global recorded music sales fell around 9 percent last year as rampant piracy cut into major markets, threatening jobs, investment and the discovery of new artists, the industry's trade body said on Thursday.

Some 19 out of 20 music tracks downloaded from the Internet were illegal, hitting demand for legitimate sales of physical and digital tracks and albums, according to the IFPI.

"As an industry we remain very challenged," the IFPI chief executive Frances Moore told reporters. "We are working in a very very difficult environment. Nineteen out of 20 music downloads are illegal.

"We had independent research last year that says that in Europe we could lose 1.2 million jobs in the creative sector by 2015, which is about 10 percent of the work force."

The overall drop in global music sales, which followed a 7 percent fall in 2009 to $17.3 billion, came despite a six percent rise in digital music sales to $4.6 billion which accounted for 29 percent of record companies' trade revenues.

The digital growth follows a drive by the music industry to sign more deals with new services such as mobile firms, Web sites and advertisers, however critics have argued that the process of signing licensing deals with major record labels is still a long and complicated affair.

Max Hole, the Chief Operating Officer of Vivendi's Universal Music Group International, said the industry did have reasons for optimism as more consumers were using smartphones and tablets to access music and music video.

And piracy had also dropped in countries where governments had taken action, such as South Korea and France.   Continued...