updated 09:15 am EDT, Wed April 9, 2008
Digi Music at 40pc by 2012
Direct music downloads should make up a full 40 percent of all music sales in the space of four years, according to a new study by In-Stat. Research by the company suggests a blossoming of online purchases to the point that two out of every five legal music acquisitions in 2012 will have been made for an Internet-sourced copy instead of a physical copy. The anticipated surge is attributed to much more widespread access to high-speed Internet connections as well as a continued preference for single songs over whole albums and digital libraries that more closely match what's available at retail.
Mobile music is also singled out as a potential factor, according to the study, which notes that straight-to-cellphone downloads are currently most popular in Japan but could expand elsewhere. Phone downloads are often dependent on 3G or better cellular Internet access as well as music-friendly cellphones, which are still less common than communication-only models. Increased marketing may change this attitude, the researchers suggest.
In-Stat cautions that multiple factors may still affect the projected growth, including both the often-cited high piracy level as well as copy protection schemes that are usually proprietary, which discourages customers from either shopping at more than one store or refraining from buying online altogether due to the risk of obsolescence. Demand for subscription services is also low and prevents stores that are heavily dependent on these features from enjoying the same success as stores that prefer outright purchases.
The examination also points to high growth in the near term. Digital sales grew by 48 percent between 2006 and 2007, and accounted for just over $3 billion in revenue last year. Mobile downloads alone may amount to $4.2 billion by 2012, the report says.