Digital music sales soar, but piracy a problem

Global digital music sales rose by 40% to an estimated $3-billion in 2007, but the strong growth failed to compensate for the continued slump in CD sales, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (Ifpi) said in a report published on Thursday.

The Ifpi report, released in London, said that though the industry has ”fully embraced the digital revolution”, the record industry is calling on internet service providers and governments to ”take stronger actions on digital piracy”.

Up until now, internet service providers have allowed ”copyright theft to run rampant” on their networks, causing a ”massive devaluation of copyrighted music”, said the report.

Ifpi chief executive John Kennedy called on the European Union and governments around the world to follow the example of the French government, which has taken a ”hard line” against internet piracy.

Figures showed that digital sales in 2007 accounted for 15% of the global music market, up from 11% in 2006 and zero in 2003.

In the United States, the world’s biggest digital music market, online and mobile sales accounted for 30% of all revenues, compared with a 15% share in most other countries.

The digital market was roughly evenly split between online and mobile, but showed widely varying shares in different countries, said the report.

In the US, online sales accounted for 67% of the market, while in Japan more than 90% of digital sales were on mobile.

In Europe, Britain was listed as having the ”most advanced mobile music market”, while South Korea in 2007 became the first market where digital sales overtook physical music sales.

In China, a ”huge potential” for the digital music business was held back by piracy, with 99% of users not paying for downloads.

Single-track downloads, the most popular digital music format, grew by 53% to 1,7-billion, the report said. — Sapa-dpa

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