London, U.K. (March 8, 2006)–New music sales figures have come with a warning from the head of the recording industry’s international trade body, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, that Canada is being left behind in the fast-growing digital music business that last year topped US$1 billion worldwide.
Net music sales in Canada declined by $23 million (4 percent) to $608.7 million in 2005, the Canadian Recording Industry Association reported. The decline resumes an almost decade-long spiral paralleling the rise of music file swapping on the Internet, and follows a brief respite in 2004, when sales briefly stabilized.
“It’s astonishing that a sophisticated nation like Canada has dragged its feet for so long while the rest of the world has adapted its copyright laws to the digital age,” said IFPI chairman and CEO, John Kennedy. “The digital music world is moving on. Canada must move with it, or its whole music culture will suffer.”
Illegal file swapping continues unabated in Canada–with an estimated 1.6 billion music files swapped online annually, according to Pollara–in the face of outdated copyright laws that fail to properly safeguard intellectual property in the digital age.
In contrast with Canada’s situation, worldwide music sales via the Internet and mobile phones tripled year-over-year to US$1.1 billion in 2005 and are expected to continue climbing rapidly, according to a recently released report from IFPI. Digital revenues have leapt from zero to 6 percent of record company revenues globally in the last two years–far greater than in Canada, where digital revenue comprises less than 1 percent of total sales.
IFPI’s Digital Music Report 2006 shows that Canada is losing out by not updating its copyright laws to protect intellectual property in the digital environment, as have its major trading partners. The report reveals that in the United Kingdom and Germany, which have implemented digital copyright reform, legal buyers using sites like iTunes and MSN now exceed illegal file-swappers.