Feeds

Brits have bought 5.26 million music downloads this year

More than they did in all of 2004

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

More than five and a quarter million songs have been downloaded from legal online music services in the UK so far this year, it emerged this week.

The announcement follows the launch this weekend of the first official singles chart that combines sales of both physical media and downloads.

At a stroke, the move almost doubled the number of singles on the official weekly tally, confirming that downloads have become as important as CDs. At least 383,000 downloads were sold last week, just under the 393,000 physical units. How many single-track downloads are being counted as singles isn't clear, but physical sales of a specific single record are likely to outweigh downloads of the same track for some time yet.

Between 1 January and 16 April, some 5,263,995 tracks were downloaded from UK music providers, more than the number sold in the whole of 2004. That said, for five months last year Apple's iTunes Music store wasn't operating in the UK. ITMS is believed to account for between 70 and 80 per cent of UK download sales, depending on who you ask.

Chart complaint

That's annoyed the UK's independent music sector, which despite fighting hard to win concessions from Apple, which launched ITMS last year with no content from independent labels, still feels under-represented by the company. Sector insiders say that's just because Apple can't add tracks any faster than it's doing so, such is volume of new and old material it's digitising in order to sell. But it nonetheless means indies aren't getting a fair crack at the chart whip as a result.

Indeed, last week, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) said it was asking the Office of Fair Trading to back its request to suspend the launch of the combined singles chart. AIM said the move to bring the download chart and the main singles chart together was premature, given the nascent nature of the UK download market.

The British Phonographic Institute played down AIM's fears this week, claiming that the combined chart "shows that independent UK labels have been quick to take advantage of the download opportunity" leading to a "strong performance in this debut chart".

But the fact remains, establishing such a broad series of digital partnerships with all the music providers out there is rather more complex than getting CDs into shops. A indie label might have a single distribution deal and be sure that any record store, large or small, that wants to stock its CDs can get hold of them to do so. That isn't the case in the digital arena. Signing with, say, MusicNet will get a label's tracks into HMV's upcoming download store, but not into iTunes or Napster. Major labels face the same problem, but are larger and better equipped to establish those business relationships from the outset.

In the week-ago pre-release combined chart, independent acts took under 13 per cent of physical and download single sales, compared to 21 per cent of physical sales alone. Of all the independent singles sold, only 16 per cent were purchased as downloads, compared to 33 per cent in the case of the majors. All things being equal, the combined chart should show a comparable major-to-indie sales ratio as the physical chart does, AIM believes. ®

Related stories

Eight convicted in Denmark's biggest piracy case
Apple iTunes sales tally passes 350 million
Apple Japan 'will' open Music Store - chief
Major labels sell off MusicNet
Indies plan assault on UK singles chart
New wave of lawsuits to hit 'illegal song-swappers'
HMV swaps digital music partners

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.