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Music industry raises NBN fears as legal digital sales take off

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As Australians turn from freetards into digital music buyers, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) (IPFI) and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) have responded by bleating that the National Broadband Network will destroy them unless the government revises copyright law in their favour.

In this IFPI report (PDF), the Australian market is lauded for finally showing some growth, from $AU382.7 million in 2011 to $AU398.1 million in 2012.

Importantly, the key growth point was digital sales, which surged by 31 percent from $AU140.5 million to over $AU184.3 million. That growth, for the first time, was enough offset the collapsing physical sales – down 12 percent from $AU242 million to $AU214 million.

In other words, now that the music industry has been dragged by the ear into the world of legal digital downloads, customers are buying with enthusiasm. If 2013 were to reproduce the 2012 changes, then digital will overtake physical purchases this year.

IFPI attributes the growth, in part, to the arrival of Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, Samsung Music Hub, JB Hi-Fi Now and MOG.

The tone is soured by ARIA’s complaint that the NBN will spoil everything: “if more action isn’t taken by the Government and ISPs to curb piracy levels, the NBN could have disastrous results for the local industry”, the report states.

It quotes ARIA’s Dan Rosen as saying that the NBN rollout, “without the necessary copyright protection in place, will be a catalyst for increased online piracy across the country.”

Pointing to a model that’s been so successful in New Zealand, IFPI complains that “Australia does not have a legislative ‘graduated response’ process nor does it have a process to facilitate site blocking.”

ARIA or IFPI seems to have a very optimistic view of the NBN construction schedule. The report states that the network should reach “90 percent of Australia’s population” within two years. The actual rollout is somewhat more modest, with a target of 3.5 million or so homes connected or passed by fibre by 2015. ®

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