Digital downloads drive world music sales in first half of 2006

“Sales of digital music in the first half of 2006 rose 106% to US$945 million when compared with the first six months of last year. Globally, digital sales now account for 11 percent of the total recorded music market worldwide, up from 5.5 percent in December 2005,” The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reports.

“The US is still leading the digital revolution, with 18 percent of recorded music sales now being made through digital channels. Digital music sales in the US increased by 84 percent to US$ 513 million in the first six months of 2006,” IFPI reports. “Digital music also accounts for a significant part of the overall market in South Korea (51%), Japan (11%), Italy (9%) and the UK (8%).”

“The explosion in digital music services, spurred by consumer demand and a widening array of delivery channels, has seen online and mobile music sales grow from $US134 million in the first half of 2004 to US$945 million in the first half of 2006,” IFPI reports. “In Japan, Italy and Spain mobile dominates the digital market, accounting for 85%, 76% and 78% of overall sales respectively. Online downloading is more prominent in markets such as the UK, Germany and the US, where online sales account for 70%, 69% and 64% of digital sales respectively.”

“Physical music sales declined in the first half period, down by ten percent worldwide. This led to total music sales falling by four per cent in the period to $8.4 billion in trade values (US$13.7 billion in retail values). Piracy and competition for consumer spending contributed to the first half fall,” IFPI reports. “There was growth in some markets, such as Japan (12%), South Korea (5%) and Australia (6%), counter-balanced by declines in Germany (-4%), the US (-7%) and France (-9%).”

IFPI notes:
Physical sales include:
• singles, LPs, cassettes, CDs, DVD Audio, SACD, MiniDisc, DVD, VHS and VCDs.

Digital sales include:
• Online: single track downloads, album downloads, music video downloads, streams
• Mobile: master ringtones, full track audio downloads to mobile, ringback tunes, music videos
• Subscription: online and mobile subscriptions

IFPI excludes midi files (monophonic and polyphonic), ringtones and non-artist related content sales from these figures. IFPI figures are collected from IFPI members (physical sales) and major record companies (digital sales) and include an estimate for non-reported sales, effectively representing 100% of the market. Retail figures are estimates and represent combined physical and digital sales. For the US, estimated retail values reflect shipments at suggested retail list prices. IFPI figures may differ from locally released figures as a result of adjustments for non-reported sales and small differences in category definitions.


  1. I think physical products will always have a place – vinyl is actually seeing increased sales in the UK.

    Even if download quality matched or exceeded dvd, people would still buy special editions for all the extras etc.

  2. Interestingly, the Sears Christmas Catalogue (yes we still have them in Canada) has a turntable listed in the audio section. Also you can get USB truntables as well if you are feeding into a computer to digitize an album.

  3. ” . . . vinyl is actually seeing increased sales in the UK.”

    Sure, if you count kinky costumes. That’s not dogging the sales.

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  4. I only buy vinyl records. they triumph digital in quality of audio as well as album-art. and they smell nicer too!! shame that they are much more expensive than their digital counterparts… at least they mostly keep (or increase) there value…

  5. “they [vinyl] triumph digital in quality of audio”

    Typical BS that ‘squirts’ from snooty self proclaimed audiophiles.

    Similar to the folks that claim- “Tubes produce a warmer sound” then Solid state/digital.


  6. Props to “STEEV” — the idea that vinyl sounds “better” than CD is a joke. Vinyl’s “warmth” comes from a distortion caused by the needle wobbling around in the groove, a distortion that can be added to CD playback with filters.

    Of all the senses, your hearing is perhaps the most capable of being deluded. If you think something sounds “better”, it’s easy to fool yourself into actually hearing that. Remember audiophiles painting the edges of CDs green? They were utterly convinced it made the CDs sound better. They’d heard the difference!

    It has been true in specific cases that specific albums sounded better on vinyl than CD, but that was due to the way the albums were mixed for each release, not due to any limitation of the CD format.

  7. that 89% of music is still sold in formats that typically have no DRM.

    How will the musicians get paid!?!?! These people must love piracy!?!?!? Blah blah fucking blah!!!!!!!

    If you think being against DRM is equivalent to supporting piracy, this number should change your mind. On average, for every copy of a song out sold in the first half of 2006 with DRM, about 9 copies (all of which can be converted to DRM-free files!) had none*. The labels are merely trying to set the stage for a time when everything has DRM so that they can sell you multiple copies of each track for different playback platforms, CD player, computer, etc.

    *This is not even taking into consideration the fact iTunes provides a method to remove DRM from tracks purchased through iTS. Oh the fucking humanity.

  8. STEEV and LordRobin, you need to expand your horizons and knowledge base. There are vinyl disks out there with significantly better quality sound on them than CDs can produce. There are vinyl disks which are specifically created to give a higher dynamic range and higher frequency response. That’s simple fact.

    However, there are other digital sound media (such as the various forms which support 192 kHz sample rates with at least 24 bits per sample in a lossless compression format and support for at least 7.1 channels) which are significantly better than either CDs or any form of vinyl.

  9. STEEV – “Similar to the folks that claim- “Tubes produce a warmer sound” then Solid state/digital.”

    Actually tube amps and solid state amps have different charastic distortions. The typical solid state amplifier uses two separate transitors in a push-pull configuratioin. One handles the positive portion of the music, the other the negative. There is no way to perfectivly match theses tansitiors, so there is a flaw every time the signal crosses the zero value. Tubes do not exhibit this sort of distortion, but are more susceptable to other forms of distortion.

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