Australians are listening to more music than ever before, but musicians are making less and less money from their work, Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) figures for 2013 reveal.
The brief hope of 2012, when sales revenue grew by 4% for the first time since 2009, has vanished as consumers shift to lower-priced digital copies. Total revenue fell 11.6% in 2013 to $351,619,000, the lowest since 2005 when digital sales were first counted.
The drop is largely due to the loss of “physical” (ie CD) product sales, which led to whopping 25.5% drop in revenue, although there was one bright spot: the continued revival in vinyl album sales, up 77%, but from a low base to 137,658 copies, valued at $2,839,822. Interestingly, single sales fell, debunking the view that consumers simply cherry pick the hits.
Vinyl singles more than halved on the previously year, with revenue dropping by a third to $362,904 and CD singles sales halved too, to just 86,000 and the revenue followed suit to $363,000.
Even digital singles slipped 3% in both sales and revenue.
2013 marked a massive shift to online sales, with digital music (54.7%, $192.3M) overtaking physical music product (45.3%, $159.4M) for the very first time in 192.3 million sales. But while digital sales rose by nearly 8%, revenue was essentially static, rising by just 0.5%.
Streaming revenue doubled to $20.9 million and is now 5.9% of the total market.
And it looks like the ringtone market has peaked, with sales dropping 300,000 to 1.5 million and revenue falling $600,000
Despite the gloomy result, ARIA CEO Dan Rosen remained optimistic for Australia’s recorded music industry.
“The way that music is discovered and enjoyed by fans continues to evolve, and as the industry continues to transform itself, the sales trajectory will not always be a straight line,” he said.
“Australian music fans are consuming more music than ever before with an ever-expanding range of options to access music – whether it is streaming music, digital downloads or visiting the local record store.”
ARIA Chairman Denis Handlin said said the Australian Government’s decision on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into copyright and the digital economy was vital to the future of the industry.
“As our industry continues to embrace the digital landscape, it is increasingly important that we have the business and rights protection environment in place to support our local artists and record labels,” he said.
Despite the revenue results, it seems Australians are loving local music more than ever with a record 14 Australian albums hitting No. 1 on the ARIA Charts while artists such as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Havana Brown, Guy Sebastian, Empire Of the Sun, Airbourne and Keith Urban enjoyed chart success overseas.
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