Global music sales fell in 2013, but streaming revenue tops a billion dollars for first time

But streaming sales top $1 billion for the first time

Global sales of music fell in 2013, due largely to a slump in sales in Japan.

New figures by global record industry body IFPI showed a fall in sales of 3.9 per cent, with $15 billion (£9 billion) spent on music in 2013. However, sales in Japan – the fifth largest market for record sales worldwide – fell by 16.7%. It contrasts with 2012 when global sales rose – by 0.3% – for the first time since 1999.

Meanwhile, streaming revenue topped $1 billion for the first time. Paid subscriptions to sites such as Spotify and Deezer rose by 51 per cent last year, to a total of $1.1 billion (£0.6 billion). The number of paid subscribers has risen from eight million in 2011 to 28 million in two years.

IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said: “It is now clear that music streaming and subscription is a mainstream model for our business.”

The IFPI’s figures showed ‘Midnight Memories’ by One Direction was the biggest-selling album of 2013, with global sales of four million, followed by Eminem‘s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’ (3.8 million) and Justin Timberlake‘s ‘The 20/20 Experience’ (3.6 million).

Physical sales of CD and vinyl fell by 11.7 per cent to $7.73 billion (£4.64 billion), but this is still just over half the total sales for global music. Japan has been relatively resistant to embrace digital music sales, but a drop in the country’s CD and vinyl sales has been blamed for their large overall sales decline. If Japan’s figures were discounted, global sales would have fallen by just 0.1 per cent.

“Streaming is the way people are consuming music,” said Spotify chief content officer Ken Parks. “The debate about whether it’s a model to embrace has been put to rest over the last year.”