Music will play a dirge for next four years


A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that combined global spending on recorded music in all formats will fall from $33.4 billion worldwide in 2007 to $32.5 billion by 2012, a 0.6% compound annual decline.

Latin America and Asia are expected to see gains, driven mostly by digital formats, but declines in the U.S. and the rest of the world will offset that positive note, the report said.

Not surprisingly, digital formats are expected to explode in that time. Global spending on digital music formats is predicted to reach $18.8 billion by 2010, more than doubling the $7.3 billion last year, a more than 20% compound annual gain. Asia is expected to contribute $7.5 billion to the 2012 digital total, the U.S. $5 billion, Latin America $1 billion and almost $5 billion for the rest of the world.

PwC said digital revenue will overtake physical revenue in Asia by next year, Latin America by 2010, by 2011 in North America and in 2010 for the rest of the world.

In the near term, single-track sales remain the dominant component of digital sales, at $802 million, but album downloads increased 54% year-over-year in 2007. The company expects single downloads to grow to 1.9 billion a year by 2012 to $2.2 billion worldwide, while album downloads will rise to 120 million units a year to $1.2 billion.

The study predicts that tracks will cost more in the near future, to an average of $1.15 by 2012, while albums will average $10.15.

Antony Bruno is a contributor to Billboard.