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Music industry rebounds in 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen performs

Carly Rae Jepsen performs "This Kiss" at the 40th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Jepsen had the song of the year with "Call Me Maybe"--and so it was also tops on iTunes. Following behind was Goyte's "Somebody That I Used To Know," fun.'s "We Are Young," Maroon 5's "Payphone" with Wiz Khalifa and Nicki Minaj's "Starships." (Nov. 18, 2012) Credit: AP / John Shearer

Is the music industry finally starting to turn things around?

After 13 straight years of declines stemming from decreased sales and Internet piracy, the music industry saw global revenues increase 0.3 percent in 2012, according to a new report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The music industry’s revenues globally were $16.5 billion in 2012. (When Internet piracy began to affect sales in 1999, the industry’s revenues were about $28 billion.)

"For the global music business, it is hard to remember a year that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air," IFPI chief executive Frances Moore said in the report. "These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade. They show the music industry has adapted to the Internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers and monetised the digital marketplace."

The group attributes the revenue increase to growing digital sales and subscriptions to streaming music sites like Spotify and Rhapsody.

A report from Port Washington-based research firm NPD Group released yesterday says that the rise in subscription services, along with increased litigation against peer-to-peer services, have led to a significant decline in illegal music file-sharing.

According to the NPD’s report, the volume of illegally downloaded music files from peer-to-peer services declined 26 percent in 2012. "For the music industry, which has been battling digital piracy for over a decade, last year was a year of progress," said Russ Crupnick, NPD’s senior vice president of industry analysis.

Perhaps the argument that music industry critics long made – that consumers didn’t want to steal music, they just wanted a reasonably priced way to listen to it – wasn’t as far off as the industry claimed.

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The IFPI also reported that the Internet has made truly global hits possible, with 2012’s top-selling singles coming from artists from Brazil, South Korea and Trinidad, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia.

The year’s biggest seller? Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe," with 12.6 million copies sold.  

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