Online Music Sales to Crescendo

Digital music sales are expected to hit high notes in the coming years, but CDs will still be the medium of choice, according to JupiterResearch (a unit of this site’s corporate parent).

The European digital music market is expected to quadruple from the €10.6 million (US$13.17 million) earned at the end of 2003 to €46.3 million (US$57.5 million) by year-end 2004. The surge will continue through 2009 when digital music revenues reach €836 million (US$1.03 billion), representing 8 percent of the total music market.

The UK will lead the digital music charge, accounting for 30 percent of the 2009 European total at €248 million (US$308.27 million).

Digital music sales in the U.S. will outpace that in Europe, but CDs will continue to rule in the States too. JupiterResearch expects digital music sales to reach US$270 million by the end of 2004, and grow to US$1.7 billion by 2009 – 12 percent of the total consumer music spending.

Evidence that the paid downloading surge is well underway comes from research from Ipsos-Insight. As of the first quarter of 2004, the firm found that 37 percent of American downloaders had paid for online music, compared to 22 percent in 2003, and just 8 percent who said they paid a fee the year prior.

Ipsos found that 62 percent of those who paid to download music burn the songs to CDs, while just 26 percent transferred the files to a portable MP3 player. Jupiter predicts that U.S. shipments of MP3 players will grow over 50 percent in 2004 – to more than 5 million – and will continue to grow almost 50 percent per year for the next several years.

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