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Digital Music Sales top $2B in 2006

Today the IFPI released 2006 figures for the global music industry, demonstrating the continued growth of downloadable songs, ringtones, and other digital music services. Here are a few numbers from the report:

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Worldwide Digital Music Sales, in Dollars
2004: $380 million
2005: $1.1 billion (5% of total industry revenues)
2006: $2.0 billion (10% of total industry revenues)

Single Track Downloads, in units
2005: 420 million worldwide
2006: 795 million worldwide (of which 582 million were sold in US, and 53 million in UK)

Albums Downloaded, in units
2005: 16 million in US
2006: 33 million in US

The impressive growth in digital sales was not enough to replace the lost revenue from the declining market for physical CD’s. Worldwide, the total dollar value of music sold in all physical and digital formats declined by 3%.

In the US, the five year sales decline of physical CD’s continues unabated. In 2006, only 588.2 million CD albums were sold, down from 618.9 million in 2005. This week’s number one top selling album, the Dreamgirls soundtrack, moved just 60,000 units, the lowest weekly sales for a #1 album since Soundscan began tracking weekly sales in 1991.

Could these weak numbers pave the way for EU approval of a Warner-EMI merger this year, reducing the number of major music companies from 4 to 3?

Greg Spotts is Creative Director of the Shortlist Music Prize, and rocks the Digital Media beat for Fast Company.

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