For the first time since 1999, the recorded music industry is showing signs of growth. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) issued its annual Digital Music Report today, revealing that the industry’s revenues rose 0.3 percent year-over-year to hit $16.5 billion.
Admittedly, that’s not a very significant increase. But it’s no secret that the music industry has been crushed monetarily over the past decade, as the likes of Napster and other free music file sharing sites have taken their toll on consumers’ expectations of what music is worth. The industry\’s revenues had declined more than 40 percent since their peak in 1999.
Record labels and artists alike have had to adapt to the new online marketplace for years, but it may only be just now that digital music sales are starting to make up for the continued decline in physical ones.
The IFPI says that digital music sales accounted for 34 percent of total industry revenues in 2012 after hitting a total of $5.6 billion.
Music subscription services like Spotify and Rdio saw a 44 percent increase in total users year-over-year, with 20 million users in total expected to make up over 10 percent of digital music revenues.
Sales from iTunes and other music download marketplaces, meanwhile, still make up over 70 percent of global digital music revenues – apparently despite the fact that iTunes sales have slowed in the U.S. as of late – and increased 12 percent year-over-year.
The report also credits the total growth to the expansion of digital music services into other global markets. The IFPI says that the “major international download and subscription services” were only available in 23 countries in early 2011, but that they’re offered in over 100 total countries today.
As for which artists were driving the most growth, Adele cruised her way to the top of global album sales for the second consecutive year, selling 8.3 million units of her 2011 record “21.” Carly Rae Jepsen, meanwhile, had the most popular song of the year after selling 12.5 million units of her track “Call Me Maybe.”