Adele and One Direction help put music business back on its feet

Feb 27, 2013

Record industry sees first signs of recovery since golden age of Britney and Britpop

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THE global music industry has registered its first rise in revenues from sales of recorded music since 1999, the era when Britney Spears and Britpop dominated the charts.

Over the past decade sales of CDs have collapsed as the industry has struggled to come to terms with online piracy, but revenues rose by 0.3 per cent to $16.5bn thanks to the expansion of digital download and subscription services such as iTunes and Spotify, according to figures compiled by music industry association IFPI and reported in The Financial Times. In 2012 digital revenues were up by 9 per cent and were the main source of income for record companies in India, Norway, Sweden and America.

The boost is partially down to acts such as Adele, Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey, who all featured in the global top-selling albums of 2012. British boy band One Direction even made the top five twice, with records Up All Night and Take Me Home coming it at number three and four respectively. In 1999, industry revenues peaked at $27.8bn – nearly 70 per cent higher than last year, with The Guardian noting music sales have shrunk by 40 per cent since 2000.

IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said: "It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air." She believed the record industry was "on to the road to recovery" but acknowledged it was still fragile. As the FT points out, Britain’s music industry continues to shrink despite the global success of UK acts.

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