The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has announced that revenue from sales of digital music downloads and streamed music has overtaken sales of physical media – CDs, in other words – for the first time.
According to the BPI’s figures, digital downloads took up 55.5 per cent of the income from music sales in Q1 2012. The total figure for digital was £86.5 million, while music sold in physical form netted £69.3 million. Digital’s numbers are up almost a quarter compared to the first three months of 2011. And already-ailing CD sales are down 15 per cent over the same period.
BPI chief exec Geoff Taylor sees this as “a significant milestone in the evolution of the music business,” and claims that “UK record labels have embraced digital to their core, supporting innovation and licensing more new online and mobile services than any other country.”
However, Taylor doesn’t see this as the death throes of the CD format, saying “demand for physical CDs remains strong in the UK, especially in Q4.”