One Direction, Robin Thicke Among Music Sales Leaders For 2013

Hannah Karp Wall Street Jopurnal 03/18/14

Recorded music sales remained stable most countries last year as digital revenue replaced falling CD sales, helping Europe’s music market to grow for the first time in more than a decade. But sharp declines in Japan weighed on global results.

Global digital revenue grew 4.3% to $5.9 billion, while performance-rights income – including royalties from services such as Internet radio – grew 19% to $1.1 billion, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Tuesday. Physical music sales fell 11.7% to $7.7 billion and synchronization revenue – from song placements in ads, films and TV shows- fell 3.9% to $322 million.

Boy band One Direction had the world’s best-selling album, with “Midnight Memories” selling 4 million copies, followed by Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” which sold 3.8 million units.

Robin Thicke’s single “Blurred Lines,” featuring rapper T.I. and Pharrell Williams, was the word’s top selling song, clocking 14.8 million downloads worldwide. The Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis sold 13.4 million copies of their single, “Thrift Shop” while Swedish DJ Avicii sold 11.1 million copies of his song “Wake Me Up.”

Excluding Japan, where digital revenue is plummeting faster than physical sales due to a sharp drop-off in demand for ringtones, global revenue was flat, down 0.1% over 2012. The 17% decline in Japan pushed global revenue down nearly 4% to $15 billion.

Latin America saw some of the strongest growth – with total recorded-music revenue there increasing 1.4% to $521 million. North American revenue grew 0.5% to 4.8 billion and Europe posted 0.6% growth, reaching $5.3 billion, with all of its top five markets – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. – expanding.

In the U.S., digital revenue grew last year to account for 64% — up from 59%– of total revenue, which has held stable at $7 billion for the past four years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Subscription music services like Spotify AB and ad-supported streaming services like Pandora Media Inc. generated $1.4 billion, accounting for 21% of total U.S. revenue, up from 15% in 2012. Download revenue — from digital sales of songs and albums — declined 1% to $2.8 billion, accounting for 40% of total U.S. revenue.

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