Reversing Trend, World Music Revenue Inches Upward
More than a decade after online file swapping tipped the music industry into turmoil, record executives may finally be getting a sliver of good news.
Industry revenue is up. A measly 0.3 percent, but it’s still up.
"For the global music business, it is hard to remember a year that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air," said Frances Moore, whose International Federation of the Phonographic Industry put together the figures released Tuesday.
"These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade," she said in a statement. "They show the music industry has adapted to the Internet world."
That adaptation has been a long time coming. Online song sharing popularized by services such as Napster at the turn of the millennium seriously destabilized the industry, which reacted with a barrage of lawsuits and lobbying. But the war on piracy failed to stem the tide of free music, and by the time executives finally began making legal music available through download services such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes, the industry was in a free fall.
Since its 1999 peak, the global music industry’s revenues have crashed more than 40 percent. Tuesday’s figures, which show a rise in global revenue from $16.4 billion in 2011 to $16.5 billion in 2012, are the first hint of growth in more than a decade.