Digital Sales Increase, Album Sales Decrease

According to music industry body of the United Kingdom, over 26 million downloaded albums were sold last year, which makes an increase of 24% compared to 2011. Meanwhile, album sales have decreased by 13%.

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The BPI is once again blaming piracy and the slow response of the authorities to address the issue. Within the last 5 years, digital downloads have rapidly become popular. However, back in 2007 only 6 million albums were sold, while last year that number quadrupled. At the same time, consumers continued to shop for CDs, purchasing 3 times more albums on CDs than downloads. Therefore, the BPI admits that “physical ownership” is still playing an important role in users’ life, but also explained that “a backdrop of chronic piracy” keeps representing a risk for the entertainment industry.

Geoff Taylor, the BPI’s CEO, pointed out that while other countries take steps to protect their entertainment industry, the UK’s authorities are taking too long to tackle piracy, thus weakening copyright to the benefit of the American tech giants. As a result, the United Kingdom has already fallen behind Germany as a music market. If a decisive action isn’t taken in 2012, investment in creative content could fall again – that will be a creative crunch able to destroy jobs.

One of the solutions will be to turn Internet service providers into proper instruments to identify pirates, and the UK’s government is following suit to such a plan. After a broadband provider receives the list of IP addresses alleged of piracy, it has to send notifications to the users, warning them about their activities. In addition, the service provider must advise the subscribers on how to prevent such infringing behavior, but not make demands for money nor threaten with disconnection. At the same time, the UK authorities admit that it is not an issue that broadband providers or copyright owners alone are able to deal with.

Meanwhile, piracy is not the only problem of the industry, because buying habits must change as well. For example, downloaded singles accounted for 98% of the total sales, which means that the shoppers’ taste in music had become more eclectic. In other words, people might buy a single and after this use such services as Spotify and Lastfm to listen to the other songs.