UK Music Sales Rise On Digital Growth, But Subs Play Small Part

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UK recorded music sales bounced back to slight growth for the first time in six years through 2009, all without Digital Economy Act-type measures yet being in place.

The British Phonographic Industry credits “a strong fourth quarter and increased digital income stream” for a 1.4 percent rise in income to £928.8 million…

Digital a big gainer: Sales rose 47.8 percent from 2008 to £188.9 million. That’s £83.7 million from track downloads, £67.3 million from albums and £3 million from videos.

Physical sales ebb: They’re down a not-horrific 6.1 percent to £739.9 million, a sixth successive annual dip.

But trends within online are interesting – digital now makes up 98 percent of track units shifted, but only a fifth (20.3 percent) of actual income

Ad income is peanuts: Free services from those like Spotify, We7 and Last.fm brought in £8.2 million – that’s 247 percent more than the year before, but still only 4.3 percent of online music income.

Subs are small, too: Premium subscription from those like Spotify, Napster and Comes With Music brought in £11.8 million – that’s a 37.2 percent rise, but still just 6.2 percent of online sales and less than one percent of total msic income.

Mobile music in rewind: Mobile income fell 13.3 percent to £12.7 million, though, within this, single track sales rose 6.8 percent.

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor, in the announcement, says: “The pace of growth of new digital services is encouraging, but the size of the market continues to be constrained by competition from illegal downloads.

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