Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 2011 Music Sales Figures Are In

IFPI logo graphic from Music 3.0 blog
Finally we get a chance to look at the world-wide music sales figures from 2011, thanks to the IFPI's annual year end report called Recording Industry in Numbers. Here's what we found:
  • Global sales were down 3% from 2010, but overall revenue was up to $16.6 billion. This was due primarily to increased global sync license revenues, which is still climbing.
  • Physical sales slumped again by 8.7% globally to about $10.2 billion. 
  • In the US, about 240 million CDs were sold, which amounted to about $3.41 billion.
  • Digital revenues grew by 8% to $5.23 billion. Digital now accounts for 31% of the music market.
  • Global performance rights revenues also grew by 4.9% to $905 million in sales, which accounts for about 2% of global sales.
  • The US is still at the top of global sales, registering $4.37 billion, which is about what it was last year (although the RIAA claims the figure was more like $7 billion). Japan is second with $4.09 billion, which decreased by 7% over the previous year. Germany comes in 3rd with $1.47 billion, and the UK comes in 4rth with $1.43 billion.
  • Fees from subscription services like MOG, Spotify and Rhapsody were up in the States by 14% to $241 million, with total subscribers growing to 1.8 million.
The biggest selling hits? Hold on to your keyboard:
  • It's no surprise that Adele's 21 was the biggest seller, moving 18.1 million units word-wide and 8 million in the US. Michael Buble's Christmas came in second and Lady Gaga's Born This Way came in third, although sales figures weren't given.
  • Bruno Mars had two of the biggest selling digital songs of 2011 with "Just The Way You Are" selling 12.5 million units and "Grenade" selling 10.5 million. LMFO's "Rock Party Anthem" came in third globally with 9.7 million units.
What's it all mean? First of all, the music industry is still huge by any stretch of your imagination. It's a $16 billion business that appears to have its decline leveled off and is on its way back.

Secondly, there were 240 million CDs sold in the US last year. Think of that - 240 million! And those are only the ones we know about. It's going to take a while until this format dies.

Thirdly, subscription is already throwing off about a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue with only 1.8 million total subscribers. Imagine what this will be like in the future as a revenue generator.

Lastly, everyone who's said the era of the blockbuster selling album was over was wrong, and Adele proved it by moving 18 million units in a year.

I've said it before, and the numbers prove the point - the music business is not dying. It may be morphing, changing, evolving or shifting, but it's not dying.

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