It’s been a solid bit of time since Napster took the world by storm and kick-started the whole downloading music craze. Now it’s a legitimate business and a great deal of music sales are done digitally. 2014 marked the first time that digital sales matched physical album sales, and I’m willing to bet that it won’t be long until we see digital sales overtake physical sales. The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) reports that the digital market rose 6.9% last year to $6.9 billion, accounting for 46% of global music sales. CDs, vinyls, cassettes etc made up 46% as well. The remaining 8% was comprised of rights for performances, films and advertisements. There’s no surprise that Pharell’s Happy was the most downloaded song in the world and Taylor Swift was the most popular artist. Interestingly enough the IFPI reports that vinyl sales increased by 54.7%, cough*hipsters*cough.
Streaming music also plays a part in this transition. In fact, last year saw sites like Spotify and Deezer increase their revenue by 39% to $1.57 billion. This increase offset a drop in download sales, mainly derived from Apple’s iTunes store.
“I think we will be looking, in the next couple of years, at digital surpassing physical,” said the IFPI chief executive, Frances Moore. “We are seeing that streaming is really leading the digital market, and we can imagine a time when digital will be the majority of music sales.” I have to agree with him there. We’re shifting towards an all digital world and while I’m a fan of CDs, vinyls, paper books and such I can only see digital sales for all those respective products going up. What do you think?