The sale of digital music globally hit $2.9 billion in 2007, up 40 percent from 2006. But, as we’ve seen in the U.S. alone, that was not enough to offset the 10 percent decline in overall music sales to 17.6 billion, according to a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Digital sales now account for 15 percent of the global market. Compared to other industries, music is second only to games in its transition to digital revenues. For newspapers, it is 7 percent, for films it is 3 percent, and for books only 2 percent. (All of these are global figures).
In the U.S., however, digital sales account for 30 percent of industry sales, according to the IFPI. (Nielsen SoundScan, however, says digital music accounts for 23 percent of sales in the U.S., based on different data). The report also looks at mobile sales of digital music, including ringtones. While online sales of digital music in the U.S. are nearly double those of mobile sales, there is some evidence that gap might close (or even reverse) as mobile data networks become faster. In Japan, for instance, 91 percent of digital music sales are mobile and 40 percent are full-track mobile downloads (the rest are ringtones).
Other stats from the report:
—There are more than 500 legal music services worldwide, ten times as many as four years ago.
—About 6 million individual digital songs are available legally.
—1.7 billion digital tracks were downloaded legally last year, up 53 percent.
—Tens of billions of songs were swapped illegally.
—The ratio of unlicensed tracks to legal tracks downloaded is 20 to 1.