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Online music finally goes mass market But overall music sales will not recover until 2010


London 24th August: A new report by media researchers Screen Digest, “Online Music in Europe: Market Assessment and Forecast” predicts that rapidly growing online music sales will start to halt the decline in overall sales of recorded music, but not until 2010.
The total European market for online music will have more than doubled from €121m in 2005 to a forecast €280m by the end of this year. By 2010 consumer spending on online music in Europe will generate more than €1.1bn.
This explosive growth is being driven by rapidly growing broadband penetration and the massive increase in portable music player usage – over 7% of
Europeans now use one, up from 2% in 2004 (see table 1 below). By the end of
2005 there were 29m portable music players in Europe and this figure will rise to more than 80m by 2010.
However, the big picture is not so rosy for the overall European music market, which has been in decline – losing 22% of its total value since 2001. Screen
Digest predicts the market will continue to fall until 2010, at which point online music sales of more than €1bn / year will begin to offset the decline in physical sales.
Dan Cryan, Screen Digest analyst and author of the report comments: “Online music has been booming. However, online sales alone are not going to be enough to halt the decline in music sales. The music industry needs to make the most of new delivery platforms. We believe with the right strategy – including mobile and online – that the worst might be over by 2010. The industry must adopt a broader approach to selling music, looking beyond the traditional single and album.”
The report analyses the causes of declining revenues for the music industry and shows that a wider view must be taken to understand and address the change in consumer behavior. It is easy to point the finger at piracy but data from music industry body IFPI suggests that piracy is declining – the number of tracks available on illegal file sharing networks declined from 1.1bn in 2003 to 885m in
2005. Instead factors like the gradual erosion of music dedicated shelf space in big retailers, like HMV and Virgin, and its replacement with DVDs, books and mobile phones cannot be ignored. Seen in this light the fact that the decline in physical music sales corresponds to the boom in DVD sales begins to look less like a coincidence and more like a cause.

Table 1: 2005 percentage of population using a portable music player
Netherlands 11.9%
Germany 10.4%
UK & France 7.7%
Spain 6.6%
Italy 3.1%
Source: Screen Digest
Editors’ Notes
The data, forecasts and analysis contained in this press release are taken from the Screen Digest report, “Online Music in Europe: Market Assessment and Forecast.”
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Screen Digest is the pre-eminent source of business intelligence, research, and analysis on global audiovisual media. Screen Digest the journal has been published for more than 30 years and is read in over 40 countries. Screen Digest is primarily a research company and publishes a rapidly growing number of major business reports on media markets. The company also offers continuous online research services providing searchable access to a vast database of global audiovisual market research information. Screen Digest also provides single client consultancy services and has undertaken a wide variety of bespoke projects on behalf of numerous national and international organisations.


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