According the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), packaged music media is rapidly giving way to digital downloads. During 2005, the US singles download market grew 163 per cent, translating to 366.9 million tracks. Album downloads were up 198.5 per cent, to 13.6 million units.
During the same period, US CD shipments were down 8 per cent, while hi-rez audio formats DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD dropped off the charts. Shipments were down 30.8 per cent for DVD-Audio and 40.5 per cent for Super Audio CD. Industry figures put the total number of high resolution audio platters shipped in 2005 to around 500,000 units of each format.
Conversely CD sales in the UK are on the up, fuelled by interest in new artists. According to the BPI, the trade association for the UK record industry, 27.9 million albums were purchased in the first three months of 2006. But digital downloads are strong as well.
BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said; “With the first download-only number one single and the inclusion of downloads in the albums chart , the UK record industry can declare that the first part of its mission is now complete. We thought it would take three years, but in just 30 months the UK record industry has transformed itself from one that was 100 per cent focused on physical product to the most advanced digital music market in Europe.”
During the first three months of 2006, sales of digital downloads in the UK were up 152 per cent on the same period in 2005.