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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 06:47 pm

Digital downloading about to swamp CD sales

Jun 21st, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Digital sales of music are expected to overtake CD sales some time between this year and 2016.

music graphForrester Research Inc predicts that by 2012 digital sales will overtake CD sales, reaching an estimated $4.8 billion in revenue compared to CDs’ estimated $3.8 billion.

But the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) forecasts suggests 2016, although it predicts the US CD market will be overtaken this year and in Asia the switch has already happened.

IFPI figures show digital sales accounted for five per cent worldwide in 2005 and estimates it will be 31.7 per cent this year and 52.4 per cent by 2016.

Physical CD sales fell by 12.9% worldwide in 2009, with digital music sales rising by 9.2%

Technology and generational change are driving the numbers, according to Slow Boat Records, Wellington’s longest running independent music store on Cuba St.

Steve Hinderwell, Slow Boat Records manager, says he has not seen much change from digital music sales because of their demographic.

“Buying CDs is still popular with the older generation.

“They come in here more than younger people because they [the younger generation] are only used to downloading music.

“Digital sales haven’t affected us. The older age group are more likely to buy from us because of their preferred format [CDs, vinyl LPs] and the range of music they grew up with.”

CDs were introduced globally, in 1983 and became the primary distribution of recorded music.

Over  10 years, technology has changed how we listen to music, making it more convenient and accessible for customers. Digital sales were first introduced in the form of MP3 files in 2000.

Since then, sales have continued to expand with more digital stores online such as iTunes and Napster.

iTunes is the most popular with an average of five billion songs downloaded and bought by customers worldwide each year.

iTunes makes up 70% of all online digital music sales and is the largest legal music retailer globally.

While the statistics are good news for digital sellers, overall there is a more ominous trend for the music industry.

In the US, 18% of customers aged 13 and over regularly buy digital music online compared to only 8% in Europe, according to a 2009 Jupiter Research study, suggesting there is plenty of room for growth.

Despite digital’s development, however, Jupiter’s study shows that growth has not offset an overall 30 per cent drop in total music sales, due to music piracy.

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is passionate about music and a career in Music Journalism, I'd like to become reviews editor for an established music magazine in the near future. I write album/demo/live gig reviews.
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