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Digital music: a sustainable cure for the recording industry?

05-07-2010 09:33 AM CET | Media & Telecommunications

Press release from: Dataxis

Digital music: a sustainable cure for the recording industry?

In a sluggish music market, global digital sales rose 9.2% to US$4.3 bn, more than ten times the digital market value in 2004, according to the latest figures released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Hence, the question arises as to whether or not the strengthening digital music income will make up for the fall in physical format sales.

Dataxis Intelligence breaks down the digital music numbers and analyzes their evolution throughout major music markets in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America.


In the US, the largest music market in the world, digital sales account for 41% of the recorded music market. This is an increase from 34% in 2008, and 25% in 2007. The total US digital music sales reached US$3.1 bn for 2009. Digital downloads continued double digit growth in the past year reaching US$2.0 bn.

However, this has not prevented total US digital and physical revenues from falling again, as they went down from US$8.8 bn in 2008 to US$7.7 bn last year, according to Dataxis Intelligence’s latest market data.


Paradoxically, British total music sales rose for the first time in six years in 2009, as revenues from digital services has outweighed the decline from sales of CDs. Income from Digital music jumped 53% to £154 mln whereas physical sales fell 6% to £740 mln. Consequently, overall British music revenues experienced a 1.4% from £916 mln to £929 mln in 2009.

In Japan, digital music sales show that music downloads rose in 2009 while mobile downloads remained steady compared to 2008. Therefore, total 2009 digital sales – US$993 Million – were roughly equivalent to 2008.


France, the fifth largest music market in the world after Germany and Japan, saw its online download revenues jump 46% to €61.4 mln in 2009, up from €42.1 mln a year earlier and €29.2 mln in 2007. In terms of unit sales, 31.7 million titles were downloaded in 2009, up from 22 million in 2008. Although the progression in digital sales has been significant over the past few years, it is interesting to note that internet downloads account for less than 6.5% of total music sales. As a result, French music market has kept falling over the last years, with overall income decreasing 9 % in 2009 and 15% in 2008, according to Dataxis Intelligence’s figures.

In Belgium, digital sales rose 13.7% from €11.5 mln in 2008 to €13.04 mln last year. This trend also contrasts with a 4% decline in physical format sales and an overall 1.9% decline in music sales.


Income from the Brazilian music industry increased slightly (+0.7%) from R$355.77 mln recorded in 2008 to R$358.4 mln in 2009. CD sales fell by 0.49% last year whereas music DVD revenues rose 4.62%. However, when compared to most developed countries, Brazil shows a dissimilar trend in its digital market evolution as sales have also fallen going from 43.50 mln in 2008 to 42.78 mln last year according to Dataxis Intelligence.


Consequently, it is interesting to note that, overall, digital music is gaining ground in the world’s major music markets, and the decline in physical format income is slowly being offset and in some countries such as the U.K., overweighted by the digital sales increase. However, since the rampant piracy in the music industry remains unequally widespread in the world and legal defenses against it remain far from harmonized, it is still difficult to extrapolate the “digital trend” to other developed countries (such as Canada and Spain where piracy rates are relatively high), and even less so to developing countries.

DATAXIS, is an international market research and statistical intelligence company that covers 4 play markets worldwide. Our online database: contains detailed and up to date data on subscribers, revenues and ARPUs as well as annual forecasts on major operators and technology suppliers. Our news website: is a great tool to keep telecom professional up to date on the latest developments of the industry. In addition, we also publish our own analyses and Press Releases, under the Dataxis Views Section, that cover different regions worldwide: Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and Latin America.

Dataxis Headquarter
8, Rue Armand Moisant
75015 Paris - France

Dataxis Maroc SARL (Moroccan Office)
3 Rue Calavon Boulevard Abdelmoumen
Casablanca - Morocco
Ms. Alkhansa Belouali

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