Digital music boom can't halt album slide

The digital music landscape is shifting with the increasing popularity of streaming services such as Spotify but digital download purchases continue to grow.

The digital music boom is highlighted by the 2011 figures which show that digital album purchases increased by 24 per cent year-on-year, with 26.6 million sales. Physical album purchases are still the dominant platform with 86.2 million sales in 2011, but that is a drop of 13 per cent and the two combined represent a decrease of 6 per cent.

And when you consider that digital album sales were just 6.2 million in 2007 - it's a clear indication of a shift in focus.

The digital music age and services such as iTunes have meant that it is no longer necessary to purchase a complete album. Instead, pop-pickers are able to do literally that - pick just the tracks that they want from a collection.

That aspect is made clear by the fact that 98 per cent of the whopping 177.9 million single sales in the UK in 2011 were digital - the fourth year in a row the number has increased. The figure has more than doubled from 2007 when it stood at 86.6 million.

However, the BPI still isn't happy and has once again complained about the ubiquitous piracy options afforded to UK music fans.

"While other countries take positive steps to protect their creative sector, our government is taking too long to act on piracy, while weakening copyright to the benefit of the US tech giants," said Geoff Taylor, the BPI's chief executive.

"The UK has already fallen behind Germany as a music market. Unless decisive action is taken in 2012, investment in music could fall again - a creative crunch that will destroy jobs."

Back in October, the BPI asked BT to block the The Pirate Bay amid these concerns.

A spokesman for the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport said: "We will continue to work with industry on how they can better tackle online piracy but this is not an issue that ISPs or rights holders alone can deal with".

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