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Spotify, iTunes Pump Up Music Industry

By Oonagh Reidy & Computer Daily News | Wednesday | 27/02/2013

Digital driving music higher ..but Google streaming could really pump up the volume

The music industry's global revenue grew 0.3 percent to US$16.5 billion in 2012, the first increase since 1999, "is on a path to recovery," the industry body said today. 

The rise, although marginal, was attributed to more people using legit music downloads and online streaming sites like iTunes and Spotify. 

Digital music is now "accelerating" says the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), thanks to the massive rise of smartphones and the spread of legit music services.

Digital sales now account for about one third of total music revenues, up almost 10% to $5.6 billion.

Subscribers to online music services soared 44% globally to an estimated 20 million in 2012, IFPI said.

There's now a proliferation of music streaming services in Oz like JB Hi-Fi Now, which the retailer says is doing well, Telstra MOG, Samsung Music Hub and the hugely popular Spotify service, each flogging all-you-can-eat subscriptions for as little as $10 a month.

Spotify Australia told SmartHouse 30% of its users are paying subscribers - larger than the 25% figure for the rest of the world - and Australia is the fifth biggest music market globally.

Adele's 21 was the best-selling album and Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe was the best-selling single, while our own  Gotye came in at No. 2 wit the hit single Somebody That I Used To Know

Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI said: "It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air."

Moore admits the music industry has "battled" and transformed over the last decade but says the figures show how the industry has "adapted to the internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers"

However a key priority is to secure cooperation from 'intermediaries,' like ISPs like Telstra and iiNet, to agree to block illegal music sites, and search engines, like Google and Bing, who effectively direct users access to such sites.

Google is currently rumoured to be launching a music streaming service globally and nab some of Apple's iTunes share of music market, which currently stands at 60% of all digital music sales.

Francis Keeling, global head of digital business at Universal Music Group, believes Google will give digital music a "funnel" on the Internet, and help turn music fans to legit sites and would "have a very positive impact on the business."

"We talk about for subscription services, the need to have a funnel. Google, with its hundreds of millions of users through search, YouTube with its more than 800 million users, arguably is the biggest funnel we could have."

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