Recorded Music Industry Posts First Revenue Growth in 13 Years
Illegal peer-to-peer file sharing is also reported to be down significantly.
Two new studies released Tuesday provide some welcome news for the music industry.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports that global revenue rose 0.3 percent last year to $16.5 billion. Although the revenue bump was modest, the IFPI says that it was the first sign of industry growth since 1999.
Digital income is fueling the economic improvement. Revenue from downloads, subscription and advertising-supported ventures grew 9 percent to $5.6 billion in 2012. The IFPI also reports that the number of people paying to use subscription services leapt 44 percent to 20 million worldwide.
"It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air," says IFPI chief executive Frances Moore.
The recording industry has been battling digital piracy since Napster was launched in 1999.
Another study out Tuesday from the NPD Group said that music file sharing declined "significantly" in 2012.
The NPD Group estimates from consumer surveys that 11 percent of Internet users ages 13 and older used P2P services to download music in 2012. That's down from one in five Internet users who were downloading at the P2P peak in 2006. It's also a steady trend. Last year, for example, NPD reported that 13 percent of Internet users were downloading music from P2P.
As for volume, NPD says there was a 26 percent decline in illegally downloaded music. Music consumers also are shifting their habits even on legal music sharing. Music files burned and ripped from CDs owned by friends and family fell 44 percent and music downloads from digital lockers decreased 28 percent.
"For the music industry, which has been battling digital piracy for over a decade, last year was a year of progress,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vp industry analysis at NPD.
No surprise who was the biggest seller in 2012.
Carly Rae Jepsen topped the 2012 global singles chart with "Call Me Maybe," which moved 12.5 million units. On the album front, Adele proved her staying power with 21, which was the year's biggest seller at 8.3 million units sold despite being released in early 2011, comfortably ahead of Taylor Swift's Red at 5.2 million.