Music industry torn over album download success
The UK record industry has called for more Government protection against online piracy – despite legitimate downloads soaring.
According to figures released by music industry body the BPI, digital album sales rose 26.6% to 26.6 million which helped balance a large drop in CD sales.
Combined sales of digital and physical albums fell by 5.6% to 113.2m in 2011, with albums on CD declining 12.6% year-on-year to 86.2m in total.
The BPI has been lobbying against changes that it believes could weaken copyright law, and has called for greater protection from the Digital Economy Act, despite the increase in paid-for downloads.
The drop in artist albums is piffling in the context of the challenges faced by the retail and entertainment industries as a whole
“Led by Adele, Jessie J, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and others, records by British artists in 2011 achieved both critical and commercial success both at home and around the world,” said Tony Wadsworth, BPI chairman.
“But the challenge of sustaining this performance against a backdrop of chronic piracy means that Government action remains absolutely crucial for British artists and their labels.”
BPI spin questioned
However, the BPI’s stance has been called into question by some observers, who claim the 5.6% fall in overall sales is not a bad result during the ongoing economic downturn.
“What that means, in translation, is ‘We’ve done better than our pessimistic predictions, but don’t be fooled – we’re still too incompetent to sustain that success in the face of technological change, so we want the Government to guarantee our future for us’,” said Mark Goodge, a musician, local politician and activist, on his blog.
“As for ‘chronic piracy’, it really doesn’t seem to be happening at all,” he said, citing estimates that album sales excluding compilations had dropped by only 2.5%.
“The drop in artist albums is piffling in the context of the challenges faced by the retail and entertainment industries as a whole.”