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UK Digital revenues overtake physical in Q1 music sales

Posted 31st May 2012 by Michael Osborn

Digital services accounted for 55.5% of UK recorded music revenues in Q1 2012, as income from subscription streaming platforms doubled (up 93%) to just under £9 million.

In hugely significant news, this growth was enough to offset a 15.1% decline in physical formats (to £69.3m). Despite the fall, the digital boom ensured overall year-on-year record industry revenues grew by 2.7% to £155.8m in Q1 2012.

Digital income from all sources including à la carte, subscription and ad-supported services grew year on year by almost a quarter (23.6%) to £86.5m.

Sales of digital albums contributed substantially to rising digital revenues, with the format's sales increasing by 22.7% to £35.9m, outstripping revenues from downloads of single tracks for a second successive quarter.

The ad-supported tiers of digital services such as Spotify and We7 raked in revenues of £3.4m, an increase of 20% on Q1 2011.

The stats represent recorded music sales only, and don't include label revenues from live, merch etc.

Pick up today's Music Week for the full story - including reaction from labels.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of the music business. UK record labels have embraced digital to their core, supporting innovation and licensing more new online and mobile services than any other country. As a result, the industry's prospects for growth look brighter than for several years.

"We will need to see this trend repeated for several quarters to say we have crossed a digital Rubicon – demand for physical CDs remains strong in the UK, especially in Q4. However, the creativity, investment and digital expertise of the British music industry highlight a path for growth in the UK economy."

Full story - Music Week, May 31. 2012

Tags: online music sales, physical music sales

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