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IFPI: Global Digital Music Sales Up 25 Pct

The UK’s IFPI—a trade association representing the recording industry, analogous to the RIAA in the United States—has published its Digital Music Report 2009, and finds that sales of digital music grew by 25 percent worldwide during the 2008 calendar year. According to the IFPI, the music download business is now worth about $3.7 billion a year, and digital music sales now account for about 20 percent of all music sales, up from 15 percent in 2007—that’s more than sales through newspapers, magazines, and films combined.

“The recorded music industry is reinventing itself and its business models,” said IFPI chairman and chief John Kennedy, in a statement. “Music companies have changed their whole approach to doing business, reshaped their operations, and responded to the dramatic transformation in the way music is distributed and consumed.”

The IFPI also estimates that some 40 billion music files were illegally distributed via file-sharing in 2008, resulting in a piracy rate “around 95 percent,” by which the IFPI means that about 95 percent of all online music is “downloaded without payment to artists or producers.” The IFPI sees enlisting governments and ISPs in the battle to prevent piracy as the best way to protect content and discourage piracy. “Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over ‘free content’ and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content,” said Kennedy.

According to the IFPI, 2008 saw about 1.4 billion single-track downloads, which represents a 24 percent uptick from 2007’s sales numbers. However, digital albums saw a proportionately even bigger increase in sales, growing by 36 percent during the year.

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