Paid-for music downloads up 10x in 2004: IFPI Report

The IFPI, has reported very positive sales figures for the 2004 and have even higher hopes for 2005.

The IFPI was previously known as the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but it looks like they’re probably trying to phase the full name out – it’s far from easy to find it explained on their site. They’re the equivalent to the non-US RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), to which it is affiliated.

Building on their IFPI Online Music Report of last year, they have found some pretty positive figures.

Online sites that are able to sell music have quadrupled from 50 in the previous year to 230. The tracks that are available to purchase through these sites have doubled to 1 million, and paid-for downloads are up nearly tenfold to 200 million. For the full run down of stats, it’s best to check the IFPA site.

It’s with the benefit of hindsight that John Kennedy, IFPI Chairman and CEO now says “The biggest challenge for the digital music business has always been to make music easier to buy than to steal.” From our recollection, this was certainly a minority view within the music business previously. Their previous approach had been to try and stop the unpaid-for file sharing, while not being particularly co-operative with companies wanting to sell their music. As we all know, it was the release of Apple iTunes music store that changed their view.

We’re encouraged to hear they’re now grabbing digital distribution with both hands. “The record industry’s priority now is to licence music – to as many services, for as many consumers, on as many formats and devices for use in as many places and countries as it can,” Kennedy said in a statement.

Giving further details of the guidelines for signing up distribution services he said, “The straightforward conditions are that the business must be legitimate, the music must be correctly licensed, and record companies and other rights holders must get properly paid.” All good, except there is still some discussion within the industry on what “get properly paid” entails in digital distribution, with many feeling that electronic distribution should bring lower prices than current rates.

The IFPI say they see the “digital music market taking off in 2005”. If 2004 saw paid-for downloads up more than tenfold to over 200 million, they must be jumping with joy in anticipation of the figures for 2005.

IFPI Digital Music Report 2005