Retail Music Sales Continue To Slide

The selling power of physical music media in retail stores has been waning for many years now, although retailers may take some encouragement from the fact that the decline is slowing; global recorded music retail sales fell 4% in 2011, compared to 10% the previous year…

Let’s Get (Rid Of) Physical

The CD remains the most prominent retail sales format (according to Enders Analysis), and even in the non-physical world, the once-burgeoning ringtone market has been on a severe death spiral since its peak of 2008. In fact, mobile music sales don’t seem to be the future as once predicted, and in fact music consumption is beginning to look quite cloudy.

Alongside streaming sites such as Spotify and Grooveshark, services such as the iCloud, Google Music and, more recently, Amazon music have gained in popularity, with music matching systems allowing users to store their collections in the cloud without having to go through the arduous task of actually uploading their back catalogue.

Blame It On The Boogie

However, download-to-own (DTO) albums and tracks remain the most potent revenue source, generating $4.8 billion in sales in 2011, a full order of magnitude greater than subscription incomes over that period. Enders expects digital format sales to surpass the CD by 2015, presuming that ‘anti-piracy’ schemes do not have any significant impact on the trends – and it seems unlikely that they will, at least in the direction they are intended.

In fact, it’s hard to see how labels expect to gain public support for anti-piracy schemes – which they pitch as being for the benefit of artists – when for any payouts they receive from legal actions, they don’t pass any of the money on to the artists in question


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