updated 09:15 am EST, Thu January 20, 2011
IFPI warns Internet music sales only up 6pc
The IFPI tried to raise alarm on Thursday with a warning in its latest annual report that digital music sales were slowing down. Sales through iTunes and other outlets climbed by just six percent worldwide and made up 29 percent of their revenues. The slowdown came both from a maturing of the digital music market but was also blamed on piracy.
The agency tried to blame piracy alone for drops in creative variety and output. Just a quarter of the top 50 artists worldwide in 2010 were new, it said. Local music was also reportedly hurt as countries like Spain not only saw their music sales fall, in Spain's case 22 percent, and none of its local music cracked the top 50. Roughly 17 percent fewer Americans were employed as musicians.
Revenue among the IFPI's labels has dropped 31 percent in the past six years, which it blamed almost exclusively on piracy.
Praise was also given to those countries that codified the IFPI's business model in law, such as France's Hadopi three-strikes law and similar steps in South Korea. Attempts to block The Pirate Bay were also praised. It hoped countries like New Zealand and the UK would follow suit and was pressuring Internet providers to act as enforcers despite safe harbor rights that exempted some from doing so, most often in the US.
Critics have questioned the accuracy of the IFPI's claims and have noted that its insistence on legal protection for its traditional business hasn't necessarily been effective. In France, piracy ncreased as the automatic traffic monitoring merely meant pirates had to use alternate methods or tougher encryption. Observers have also noted that IFPI reports have traditionally avoided exploring any other potential factors, such as in the quality of the artists its labels promote, the impact of the economic crunch on spending habits, or possible broader shifts away from music as a pastime.