CALL me maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, a Canadian vocalist, was the best-selling song last year. Is it maybe also time to call the bottom for the music industry? According to data released on February 26th by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, sales of recorded music grew in 2012 for the first time since 1999, albeit only by 0.3%, to $16.5 billion (see chart).
The internet sank the music industry, but is now helping it to resurface. Digital sales rose 9% last year; a third of the music industry’s revenues now come through digital channels. Download stores represent roughly 70% of digital revenues. Popular “streaming” services, such as Spotify and Deezer, which pay a royalty each time a song is played, have also helped to rescue the business. Subscription services had 20m paying subscribers around the world in 2012, up 44% from a year earlier. Millions more use free advertising-supported versions.