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Global record sales revenue down again, but decline slowed

By | Published on Tuesday 27 March 2012


The global record industry saw trade revenues drop by 3% in 2011 to $16.3 billion, which is obviously a little depressing, though the sometimes mysterious International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry still managed a slight smile when releasing its latest round of stats, noting that a 3% drop represented a “significant slowing in the fall of the market”.

So that’s nice. Other stats in the latest IFPI report include that physical sales worldwide slumped 8.7%, but an 8% boost in digital income helped limit the impact overall of the continued slow death of the CD. Meanwhile, the often-exaggerated but nevertheless significant revival of vinyl means that it now accounts for about 1% of global record sales.

For the first time the IFPI also published figures for its members’ sync revenues, which brought in $342 million globally in 2011 (though the addition of that extra revenue stream was accommodated in the overall decline stat), while the public performance royalties generated by sound recordings worldwide were also up, by 4.9% to $862m.

Commenting on the latest stats, IFPI’s Frances Moore told reporters: “Music today is delivered through an unprecedented variety of channels. At the same time, record companies have expanded their operations into new markets and broadened their skill set and the services they offer to artists. More than at any time in its history, diversification is the byword for the recording industry today”.

The IFPI stats report also lists the best selling albums of 2011 worldwide, which is unsurprisingly topped by Adele’s ’21’, with Michael Buble’s ‘Christmas’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ following in positions two and three respectively.

And if you prefer countries to appear in your charts, IFPI also revealed the list of biggest music markets, with the US still top (its revenues holding more or less steady after several years of decline as digital income beat physical for the first time – just), Japan second and Germany holding on to third place, having pushed the good old UK into fourth place last year.