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Digital Music Sales Up!
The Quietus , February 16th, 2012 10:31

Digital music revenues up 24.7% in 2011, reports BPI

Digital music revenues of British record companies increased by 24.7% in 2011, up to £281.6m, according to new data published by the BPI. Revenue from digital sales took a far more significant jump in the past twelve months than in 2010, bringing it up to a third of the British record industry's trade income.

"It is highly encouraging for the long-term prospects of the industry that the pace of digital growth continues to accelerate," said Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive. "British labels are supporting a wide range of innovative music services and music fans are embracing digital like never before."

Total recorded music trade revenues did show a slight overall decline, at 3.4%. However, the BPI state that the growth in the digital sector now offsets two-thirds of the decline in income from physical sales, which dropped by 14.1% in 2011.

“The record industry has continued to invest heavily in discovering and supporting outstanding British talent," continued Taylor, "which has helped sustain revenues in the face of difficult economic circumstances.”

As well as suggesting the general public are becoming more accustomed to the idea of buying music digitally - spending money on intangible pieces of data rather than actual physical product - this data also reveals an interesting trend in digital music buyers' spending.

Traditionally, thanks in part to X-Factor style rush-buys, digital single revenue has remained higher than income from the sale of full digital albums. Presumably, that may have something to do with the relative psychological difference between spending a pound or two on one song, and having to fork out £7-8 for an album download.

However, in 2011 revenues from digital albums increased significantly - up 43.2% from 2010, to a total of £117.8m. They're now almost level with digital single revenues, which jumped 11.3% in 2011, to £120.5m.

As well as an increase in digital music sales, there was also a 47.5% jump in income from subscription-based online music services like Napster, Spotify Premium and eMusic, up to £24m. Their advertising revenue-based free counterparts - Spotify, YouTube and, for example - earned £10.7m.

All of these figures suggest that the British record industry's revenues are remaining relatively resistant to shifts in the marketplace and the ongoing issue of piracy. It'll be interesting in a year's time to see how 2012's figures stack up, with the US government's ruthless crushing of Megaupload and yesterday's shutting down of by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency.