LONDON – The music industry announced Tuesday the first increase in global sales since 1999, suggesting that the long-awaited rebound against the digital revolution has begun.
Sales rose 0.3 percent to $16.5 billion in 2012, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents some 1,400 record companies worldwide.
The growth may be modest, but for an industry that appeared to be in terminal decline as it also struggled to contain rampant Internet piracy, it was almost cause to break into song.
The IFPI said paid-for digital music downloads from sites such as Apple’s iTunes, along with other new sources of revenue, are finally compensating for the decline of CD sales.
Digital revenue grew by 9 percent in 2012, the organization said, bringing its share of total industry revenue to 34 percent.
Across the world, 4.3 billion songs and albums were downloaded in 2012.
The IFPI said subscription-based Internet music services such as Spotify and Rhapsody jumped 44 percent last year, giving them 20 million users worldwide.
But the IFPI admitted the industry still faces “major hurdles” in adjusting to the Internet age. “Our markets remain rigged by illegal free music,” said Moore. “This is a problem where governments have a critical role to play, in particular by requiring more cooperation from advertisers, search engines, ISPs (Internet service providers) and other intermediaries.”