Global recorded music 2013: turning the corner

13 September 2013

Global consumer expenditure on recorded music fell 4% in 2012 to $20.7 billion on the continued decline of sales of the CD and other physical formats to $12.3 billion in 2012, while retail spending on digital formats rose 8% to $7.1 billion. We predict the global market will turn the corner in 2014 and reach $22.4 billion in 2017

For 2012, we estimate the share of digital at 35% of retail sales in the top five markets of the US, Japan, Germany, the UK and France. In Japan, the rebound in CD sales and difficult mobile-to-internet transition reduced the share of digital in 2012 to just 15% of retail. For the other markets, sliding CD sales and digital growth continue to increase the share of digital in retail sales, with the US in the lead with 55% digital share

A key theme in 2013 and in our forecasts is the take-off in revenues from subscriptions to access services, both stand-alone and bundles from mobile carriers. Bundling leverages the personal, mobile and connected nature of smartphone music activity, reduces decision-making and price barriers, and is a more powerful driver of adoption than stand-alone offerings. At this point, we still expect ownership to remain more important than access in the market for digital music by 2017

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