Industry figures blame 'weak release schedule' on falling music sales

Entertainment Retailers Association 2012 Yearbook makes bleak reading for entertainment market

Industry figures blame 'weak release schedule' on falling music sales

Photo: Record Store Day

A music industry figure has blamed "one of the weakest release schedules on record" for a drop in music sales.

Figures compiled in the Entertainment Retailers Association Yearbook showed a 12 per cent slide in total entertainment sales, which takes in music and video game sales over the last year. Total music sales in 2012 fell to £1.01 billion, down from £1.07 billion the previous year, while 125 million music units (including music videos and digital) were sold in 2012, down from 139 million the previous year, reports Billboard.

ERA director general Kim Bayley blamed the figures on "a combination of structural change and one of the weakest release schedules on record". She added: "2012 suffered from a weak schedule across all entertainment formats. It was a particular blow to specialist entertainment retailers who are reliant on the quality of the product they are delivered."

According to the ERA Yearbook, only two music titles - Emeli Sande's Brit Award-winning debut 'Our Version Of Events' and 'Now That's What I Call Music 83' moved over one million units in 2012. Sales of music through record shops declined by 13.7 per cent in 2012 as did physical music sales online, which reported a 17.8 per cent fall.

The future was brighter on the digital front, however, with digital music retailers, such as iTunes, 7Digital and Amazon increasing their sales of music downloads by 15.1 per cent year-on-year, rising from £333 million in 2011 to £383 million in 2012. Streaming services such as Spotify delivered 3.7 billion streams in the U.K. in 2012. The figure is a 40 per cent rise on the previous year and equivalent to the total number of singles sold in the UK over the past 60 years.

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