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Global Digital Music Sales to top $8.6 Billion in 2012

Streaming revenues up 40% compared to 8.5% for downloads
Digital music sales set to exceed physical in the US in 2012


Boston, MA - August 15, 2012: Online streaming1 revenues will grow at almost five times the rate of download revenues in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics' latest Global Recorded Music* Forecast.

Streaming revenues will increase 40 percent in 2012 - to $1.1 billion - whilst download revenues will increase by 8.5 percent to $3.9 billion (see Chart 1). Therefore, streaming services will take over as the leading revenue growth engine for the music industry in 2012, generating an extra $311 million - $8 million more than downloads at $303 million.

Overall digital (including mobile)1 music spending will increase by 17.8 percent ($1.3 billion) in 2012 to $8.6 billion compared to a 12.1 percent decline ($1.9 billion) in packaged2 sales (see Chart 2).

This means that digital music will increase its share of global recorded music spending to 39 percent in 2012; however, this is still much smaller than packaged music sales which will account for 61 per cent of spending. Strategy Analytics forecast digital spending will overtake physical on a global basis in 2015; however, some countries, such as the US, Sweden and South Korea, are making the transition to digital taking the lions’ share of spending at a much faster rate.

Ed Barton, Strategy Analytics' Director of Digital Media, explains: "Although downloads still account for nearly 80 per cent of online music revenues, this market is maturing and spending is flattening in all key territories. Streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora will be the key growth drivers over the next five years as usage and spending grow rapidly.

Why? Because people are increasingly valuing accessibility and availability over actual ownership of digital music which, in turn, drives growth in streaming services which routinely offer instant access to over 10m tracks. Additionally, the emergence of cloud storage of a subscriber's existing music library for seamless streaming to a range of connectable devices improves the value proposition further."

Chart-1

US Music Revenue
2012 US streaming revenues will grow at four times (27.8 percent) the rate of downloads (6.7 percent). This growth means online streaming and downloads account for double the share of music spending in the US than globally (41 percent vs. 22 percent).

Conversely, US physical sales are decreasing in 2012 - although less than the global rate - with spending expected to decline by 9 per cent in 2012. Physical spending will be overtaken by digital this year in the US, compared to 2015 globally.

Barton concludes: "Having stabilized long term revenue declines resulting from the downsizing of packaged music spending, the industry will be hoping that digital can rebuild the US music market to something approaching its former stature."

Chart 2


* Recorded music refers to single/album sales only, thus, doesn’t include revenue from ringtones, concert ticket sales etc.

1 Online refers to streaming and downloads over all IP-connectable devices (e.g. PCs, tablets) except mobile handsets. ‘Digital’ refers to online and mobile combined

2 Packaged / physical music (i.e. CDs/Vinyl) purchased online is counted as physical sales not online sales


Press release contact

Ed Barton
Phone number: +44 1908 423613
Email: Contact me
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