A couple of years ago, it seemed as though the big four music companies were heading for rapid oblivion. CD sales were falling as fast as Lehamn Brother shares and the expected saviour of paid digital downloads had yet to figure significantly on balance sheets.
But in the Australian territory at least, Big Music is ack off the canvas and fighting on. As you can see from the ARIA sales figures above, music sales have finally stabilised, helpped by continued strong growth in digital music sales. While CD sales continued to decline, they were still substantial, grossing $131 million for the first half of 2009 on the back of superstars like Pink and the Kings of Leon. Meanwhile, the dollar value of digital music sales grew by 43% for the first six months of 2009 versus the same period of 2008.
The result is that the Australian music industry is climbing out of the abyss, stemming the bleeding and with broad sunlit uploads of future digital music sales just over the horizon. And remember: these are just sales of recorded music. Attendance at concerts and music festivals is a billion dollar industry in Australia.
Take home message? The record industry is here to stay – even the much-maligned majors, who are still finding and marketing musicians that audiences will pay to see and hear.