Music Australia News

Digital Sales equal Physical for First Time

Chris Bowen
| April 28, 2015

Digital music revenues rose 6.9 percent to US$6.9 billion in 2014 and are similar to physical for the first time. They now represent 46 percent of all globalifpi logo recorded music sales. The international recorded music industry group IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has released its annual Digital Music Report, which shows continued solid growth in streaming revenues, increases in subscribers, and that total recorded music revenues are stable. This report, which captures data from the world’s major companies record sales, also shows the trend from downloads to streaming continues, as does the continued decline of physical sales, with the eccentric exception of vinyl.

What is interesting is that this year’s Report suggests that global recorded music revenues may finally be stabilising.  This comes after some fifteen years of generally falling revenues which, as Complete Music Update has pointed out, saw the recorded music sector slump to become “40% smaller than it was in the late 1990s”.

The report makes the case that innovation in the industry has driven recorded music’s change in fortunes. Frances Moore, IFPI chief executive says: “The recorded music business has always led the way for creative industries in the digital world. That leadership continues today as the music industry’s digital revolution continues through new phases, driven by the consumer’s desire for access to, rather than ownership of, music. It is a reflection of how much we have adapted that digital revenues today are, for the first time, on a par with physical.”

Australian artists featured in two top ten lists for 2014: AC DC for their Rock or Bust album, and Iggy Azalea featured in two of the top ten global singles –  for list lovers, we have the charts below.

And for the stats lovers, here are the key recorded music figures:

  • An estimated 41 million people paid for a subscription service in 2014, an increase of 46.4 percent (up from 28 million in 2013, 20 million in 2012 and 10 million in 2010)
  • Digital subscription revenues grew by 39 percent (following a 50 percent increase in 2013)
  • Global digital revenues increased by 6.9 percent to US$6.85 billion
  • Streaming has overtaken download revenue in no fewer than 37 markets with subscription revenue now worth 23 per cent of the total digital market
  • Global music revenues fell just 0.4 percent to US$14.97 billion (after a 4 percent decrease in 2013 – mainly due to a big drop in Japan)
  • An 8 percent drop in download sales which now account for 52 percent of digital revenues
  • Global physical sales also continued their decline, although the physical format still has 46 percent of the market
  • Physical sales still dominates in some countries including France (57%), Germany (70%) and Japan (78%)
  • Vinyl sales continue to revive with revenues increasing 54.7 per cent and now 2 per cent of global revenues.

You can download the full IFPI Digital Music Report here.

Global top 10 albums 2014
Rank Artist Album Total sales (m)
1 Various Artists Frozen 10.0
2 Taylor Swift 1989 6.0
3 Ed Sheeran x 4.4
4 Coldplay Ghost Stories 3.7
5 Sam Smith In The Lonely Hour 3.5
6 One Direction FOUR 3.2
7 AC/DC Rock or Bust 2.7
8 Various Artists Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 2.5
9 Pink Floyd The Endless River 2.5
10 Lorde Pure Heroine 2.0

Source: IFPI. Physical and digital albums included. Streams excluded

Global top 10 digital singles 2014
Rank Artist Album Total sales (m)
1 Pharrell Williams Happy 13.9
2 Katy Perry feat. Juicy J Dark Horse 13.2
3 John Legend All of Me 12.3
4 Meghan Trainor All About That Bass 11.0
5 Idina Menzel Let It Go 10.9
6 Pitbull feat. Ke$ha Timber 9.6
7 Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX Fancy 9.1
8 Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea Problem 9.0
9 MAGIC! Rude 8.6
10 Enrique Iglesias et al Bailando 8.0

Source: IFPI. Units include single-track downloads and track-equivalent streams

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