Back in the black: global music industry sales rise for first time in thirteen years
For the first time in thirteen years global sales in the music industry have risen, according to a study reported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The increase was meek — 0.3% — but the trend in an important indicator for the future of the music industry. Once seen as the gravedigger for record companies, it is of course digital music that is leading this slow road to recovery.
Back in 1999, when many of us were still making mix CDs off our colored iMacs, Napster was skyrocketing the popularity of mp3s to untold heights. For years, the titanic corporations trying to drum up legal digital music business models could simply not find ways to compete with explosive rate at which a new generation was downloading and sharing music illegally. This plague has now turned to profit — subscribers to services like Spotify and Rhapsody grew by 44 percent last year, and sales from iTunes have not slowed either.
With huge players like Google and Apple rumored to enter the subscription-based service model soon, things continue to look up for the industry as a whole. The meteoric rise of dance music in the last few years couldn’t have hurt either — more and more fans and bedroom producers buying digital files on Beatport or Juno likely contributed to this positive change for the music business. With SFX’s very recent acquisition of Beatport and even with vinyl sales continuing to rise in 2012 (up another 16 percent), it is a very real possibility that the strength of electronic music leads the charge in the turnaround of a once crumbling industry.