…with album sales rising and the phenomenal growth of ringtones and legal downloads, plus record-breaking years for merchandising and publishing rights, it seems the death of the music industry has been greatly exaggerated.
According to recent record industry figures, UK sales rose by 4% in the first half of last year. The Publishing Rights Society reported that performance royalty collections (everything but record sales) in 2003 were the highest since records began in 1914.
In the US, Billboard Boxscore reported that the number of live music events worldwide was up by 25% in 2003 (generating Â£1.2bn in North America alone). Legal sales of downloadable songs topped 2m units a week for the first time last week. Apple’s iTunes service has sold more than 30m songs, and has yet to celebrate its first birthday.
Moreover, the astonishing growth of the ringtone market continues to take everyone by surprise. Estimates as to its true size vary widely from a conservative Â£600,000 from Jupiter Research to a bullish Â£1.9m by the ARC Group.
And all this is happening in the age of illegal filesharing.
Here is the full story.
So is the music business dying? Or are downloads, even illegal ones, complements to many kinds of musical services? Will the music business win its competition with DVDs for our dollars? Perhaps the real battle is not “stolen music vs. property rights in music” but rather “music as a whole vs. many other ways of grabbing your attention.” You tell me.