Friday, January 16, 2009

Digital sales rise; RIAA-IFPI still unhappy

Some good news blinking through the gloom of the economy this morning - worldwide, digital music sales rose by 25 per cent in value over the last year.

Naturally, the RIAA spin-off body the IFPI isn't going to take this good news well:

However, the rapid rate of growth has inevitably slowed -- digital sales grew by more than 30 percent in 2007 -- and the scale of the piracy has eaten into traditional revenues, meaning the overall music market for 2008 is expected to be down about 7 percent.

Disaster! Doom! Last year the download market grew by a little under a third, this year it only grew by a quarter. Quick, to the bailouts!

And, yes, the total size of the music market in revenue terms might have shrunk a little - although the IFPI might have read about other industries struggling a little right now; and, indeed, they seem to have neglected to share any details about what might have happened to costs now that even more of their sales come through a business model with lower overheads.

No, let's just concentrate on the falling sky:
The report showed about 95 percent of the music downloaded in 2008, or more than 40 billion files, was illegal and not paid for.

As if, of course "illegal" and "not paid for" are the same thing.

Still, there are a few kind words:
"A percentage of the existing business is not the way to measure the growth of the digital business," Rob Wells, the senior vice president of digital for Universal Music Group International, said on a conference call.
"This is a brand new business and I won't be satisfied until the business is bigger than it's ever been and I think that's something we can achieve within the next five years."

Woo, steady on there, Rob - that sounds almost positive. Can't you at least throw in some words about the needs to rip the hearts from filesharers, just so we know you really work in the music industry?

More good news from CD Baby, which reports that its artists took home some $34million this year, a 28% rise on the year before.