Digital music sales doubled to $2 billion in 2006

Posted by Mark Raby

Chicago (IL) - 2006 saw a record year for digital music sales, as the annual sales figure was nearly double what it was last year, according to data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Not surprisingly, the U.S. held the largest share of the year's sales, with the country accounting for 582 million individual tracks. The UK came second with 53 million. The IFPI says the only other big player is Japan, having sold 22 million tracks in 2006, with digital adoption happening much slower in other parts of the world. About $18 billion, or 90% of total music sales, were attributed to non-digital media in 2006, worldwide.

"We don't have the holy grail of digital offsetting the decline of CDs as yet," said IFPI chairman John Kennedy. The global organization said that by 2010, digital sales are expected to claim 25% of the industry's business. New areas yet to really take off include mobile music purchases, through services offered by Sprint, Verizon, and others. Kennedy expects that market to grow significantly in 2007.

While the year-to-year sales increase was the biggest on record, the margin of growth is slowing down a bit. 2005 saw nearly triple the amount of sales that were marked in 2004. The IFPI says that growth of mobile music, and a surge in non-major markets during 2007 is what needs to happen to continue to drive forward in the digital music market.