Monday 26 October 2009, 11:40 | By

Another record year for singles sales

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And to think, there was a time when the record industry seriously considered phasing out the single release. Yet, this has been the biggest year for single sales ever. Of course, it’s a stat that simply tells us that the buying habits of digital music fans are different than those of physical product buying music fans, and for obvious reasons, but hey, it’s good news, so let’s not try to belittle the stat with realities.

117 million single tracks have been sold in the UK already this year, with two months still to go. That breaks the record set last year of 115.1 million single tracks. 98.6% of the singles sold were digital tracks. As for the actual ‘single’ release – ie a bit of 7″ vinyl or a 1-4 track CD – well, that has all but been phased out. 
Anyway, here is BPI boss Geoff Taylor saying something: “We’ve witnessed an astonishing transformation of the UK singles market during the last six years, with digital downloads rapidly overtaking sales of CD singles and cassettes to dominate the singles scene”.

As it’s now in the BPI constitution, I think, Geoff also used the occasion to talk file-sharing: “That singles have hit these heights while there are still more than 1 billion illegal downloads every year in the UK is testimony to the quality of releases this year and the vibrancy of the UK download market. Consumers are responding to the value and innovation offered by the legal services and these new figures show how the market could explode if Government acts to tackle illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing”.


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