UK digital downloads continue to increase in 2012

Charlotte Smith3rd Jan 2013
UK digital downloads continue to increase in 2012Digital download sales rose in 2012, as people opted to store music on devices such as the iPod (photo: Peter Belanger / Apple)

The UK music market continued its shift towards digital downloads during 2012, with sales of albums, films and games finally breaking the £1bn mark - an increase of 15 per cent for music and a total of 11.4 per cent across all formats compared with 2011. Digital sales now equate to roughly a quarter of all entertainment spending.

However, sales of physical CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays fell by 17.6 per cent, with sales of CD albums declining by nearly 20 per cent. As physical sales still account for 75 per cent of the market, the overall spending trend was a 12 per cent decline – bad news for high street firms such as HMV, which faces an uncertain future, struggling with debts of £176m.

Quite what this means for the world of classical is unclear, but with three quarters of entertainment still being bought as physical product, the CD must surely be here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.

‘I suspect many people will be surprised to learn just how resilient the physical business still is - with three quarters of entertainment sales still on disc,’ said Entertainment Retailers Association director general Kim Bayley. ‘Downloads offer convenience and portability, but people still seem to value the quality and tangibility of a physical product.’

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