Music sales down 3% in 2005

Record company trade revenues from digital sales globally nearly tripled in value, from $400 mln to $1.1 bln in 2005. The total number of digital single tracks downloaded online or to mobile phones rose to 470 mln units, up from 160 mln in 2004. The US, Japan, UK, Germany and France are the top five digital markets. In general, countries with a greater%age of digital sales are the strongest markets for music sales overall. Digital sales are split roughly 50:50 between online and mobile at the global level, but there are big regional differences. In Japan and parts of continental Europe, mobile dominates the digital music market, while online sales are relatively stronger in markets such as the US, UK and Germany.

Master ringtones are currently the largest segment of the mobile market accounting for 87% of mobile sales. However, new mobile formats such as full track downloads to mobile and music videos grew faster (180% increase in trade revenues) than master ringtones (120%). Most of the global online market comprises a-la-carte sales and is led by Apple’s iTunes. Online a-la-carte downloads account for 86% of online sales globally. Overall recorded music sales (physical and digital) fell by 3% in 2005, IFPI says. Global digital and physical sales totalled $21 bln in record companies’ trade revenues. On a retail price basis, the global recorded music market is estimated to be worth $ 33 bln.

Singles sales (digital and physical) increased by more than 75% globally in units in 2005. Singles are now largely a digital format, with digital singles (online downloads and full track downloads to mobile) accounting for three quarters of total singles sales, compared to 45% in 2004. Sales of physical formats fell by 6.7% in value (record company trade revenues) and eight% in units. CD album sales were down six% in value and 3.4% in units. DVD music video dropped by 4.3% in value but remained flat in unit terms.