London, U.K. (February 1, 2006)–According to IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2006, sales of music via the internet and mobile phones proliferated and spread across the world in 2005, generating sales of $1.1 billion for record companies–up from $380 million the previous year–and promising further significant growth in the coming year.
Music fans downloaded 420 million single tracks from the internet last year–20 times more than two years earlier–while the volume of music licensed by record companies doubled to over 2 million songs. Digital music now accounts for about 6 percent of record companies’ revenues, up from practically zero two years ago.
The legitimate digital music business is steadily pushing back on digital piracy. In Europe’s two biggest digital markets, the U.K. and Germany, new IFPI research indicates more music fans are legally downloading music than illegally file-swapping.
The mobile phone became a portable music device in 2005, the first year in which song downloads to mobile phones spread internationally. Mobile music now accounts for approximately 40 percent of record company digital revenues. Record companies are seeing sharply increased sales of master ringtones, which account for the bulk of their $400 million-plus mobile music revenues.
IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said, “Two years ago, few could have predicted the extraordinary developments we are seeing in the digital music business today. And there will be further significant growth in 2006 as the digital music market continues to take shape.
“Already in the U.K. and Germany–two of the biggest digital markets worldwide–legal buyers from sites like iTunes, Musicload and MSN actually exceed illegal file-swappers. We expect this trend to spread as new and pioneering legal music distribution channels open up to consumers. This is great news for the digital music market and the wider digital economy.”