Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Retail

Digital outperforms physical for first time in UK record industry

By | Published on Thursday 31 May 2012


Digital revenue surpassed physical product revenue for the first time in the UK record industry in the last quarter, with download, streaming and other digital services accounting for 55.5% of recorded music income. A continued decline in CD sales contributed to the milestone, though the continued growth of digital was also important, including an almost doubling in subscription revenues from streaming platforms.

Overall digital made £86.5 million for the British record industry in the first quarter of 2012, with physical sales taking overall recorded music revenues to £155.8 million, which is 2.7% up on the same quarter last year. None of this, of course, includes any newer revenue streams that some labels enjoy, if they have become involved in their artists’ other activity, such as publishing, live or merchandise.

Commenting on these figures, BPI boss Geoff Taylor told CMU: “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of the music business. UK record labels have embraced digital to their core, supporting innovation and licensing more new online and mobile services than any other country. As a result, the industry’s prospects for growth look brighter than for several years”.

He added: “We will need to see this trend repeated for several quarters to say we have turned the corner – demand for physical CDs remains strong in the UK, especially in Q4. However, the creativity, investment and digital expertise of the British music industry point the way forward for growth in the UK economy”.