Digital music sales double in 2006

Marketplace worth about $2 billion worldwide

Downloads of single tracks increased 89% to 795 million globally in 2006 as the digital music marketplace doubled from the year before.

Digital music marketplace was worth about $2 billion in 2006, according to the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but digital music sales still fall short of compensating for the decline in CD sales.

Including online sales and sales to mobile phones, the digital market now accounts for about 10% of global sales.

The actual number of songs available for music fans to download doubled to 4 million. The IFPI, with a membership of 1,400 record companies in about 70 countries, published its “Digital Music Report” on Wednesday.

There are now 500 legitimate services in more than 40 countries selling digital music, but digital piracy remains a threat to the music biz.

Legal action against 10,000 large-scale uploaders of music was taken in 18 countries in 2006. Although this effort has helped to contain piracy, IFPI believes action against Internet service providers is a more effective way to beat the pirates.

IFPI chairman John Kennedy said: “With cooperation from ISPs, we could make huge strides in tackling Internet piracy globally. It is very unfortunate that it seems to need pressure from governments or even action in the courts to achieve this, but as an industry, we are determined to see this campaign through to the end.”

Kennedy projected that by 2010, at least one-quarter of all music sales worldwide to be digital. “This is a market combining evolution and revolution, where the learning curve is changing direction on a regular basis.”

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