Flat year for US music industry, survey says

March 27, 2013

US music industry sales held nearly steady in 2012 as gains from digital subscription services offset further declines in physical disc sales, an industry survey showed Wednesday.

Overall recorded music sales revenues for 2012 were $7.1 billion, down 0.9 percent, after a slight increase in 2011, according to data from the .

The RIAA report showed revenues from digital formats rose 14 percent to $4 billion, making up 59 percent of sales. Digital sales crossed the 50 percent threshold for the first time in 2011.

Most of the digital growth was from "access models," where users listen from large libraries of music rather than purchasing individual songs or albums.

These include services such as Rhapsody and paid versions of Spotify, as well as online radio services like Pandora.

Digital download revenues, including albums, single tracks, videos, and kiosk sales rose 8.6 percent to $2.9 billion in 2012, RIAA said.

Physical sales of and other formats meanwhile slumped 16.5 percent to $2.8 billion in 2012, with shipment volumes down 11.7 percent.

The report was less upbeat than a survey released last month by the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which showed overall up 0.3 percent at $16.5 billion, the first increase since 1999.

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