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  1.  (6620.1)
    Despite the popularity of digital music, from single-track purchases to subscriptions, physical media has continued to generate the most music revenue in (almost) every market in the world. According to data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), though, that will soon change: revenue from digital music sales worldwide are on track to equal that of physical sales as early as 2016, and by 2010 in the United States.

    Digital music first appeared as a statistic in IFPI's measurements in 2004, when it constituted just two percent of total music revenue. At the end of 2008, digital music accounted for 20 percent of the revenue of all music sales worldwide, and has steadily increased by about five percentage points every year since 2005. If the growth continues at this rate, worldwide revenue generated from digital music will equal that of all physical media sold sometime in mid-2016.

    Consumers in the United States buy the most digital music relative to their total music purchases—revenue generated by digital music was 36 percent of the total at the end of 2008. The growth of the US digital market was quite constant from 2004 to 2007, then jumped 12 percentage points during 2008. Extrapolating this growth shows that digital music will account for the majority of major label revenue in the US market in mid-to-late 2010.

    Asia trails the US when it comes to digital music buying, but not in South Korea. The country is currently the only place in the world where digital downloads trump physical formats; South Korea's digital music sales were 56 percent of total music revenue in 2006.

    In Europe, digital music growth has been slow, and constituted just under 11 percent of music revenue during 2008.

    Numbers are just projections only, will probably happen sometime this year, I think. Of course I thought digital had already surpassed physical CDs already. :/
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2009
    I had known CDs were dying, but figured them not dead yet. I still know people that pick up CD format because they like having the case, the artwork in the book, and the lyrics to the songs. Even I will by a hard copy album if the price outstrips digital. Which I recently just did only a few days ago.
    • CommentAuthorearl
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2009
    I've got a pretty huge cd and LP collection and I held off buying mp3s, but I broke down recently as there is a bunch of techno that is available to download that is impossible to find either on vinyl or disc even used.

    As One - So Far...
    Underground Resistance- Interstellar Fugitives
    B12- 3EP (Used to have this one and could not find it at all...)

    I still think they are overpriced considering there is no physical media, but I have got to admit, you cannot beat the immediacy of this kind of purchase.
  2.  (6620.4)
    I’ll go back to buying digital as soon as the cheap bastards at Apple and Amazon spring for the bandwidth and provide lossless audio. Compression just mucks up too much of the music I like, and the sound quality of iTunes can be pretty awful, so I’m just holding out.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2009
    I think I've only ever bought two albums as mp3's. There's something much more enjoyable about browsing a real life record store.
  3.  (6620.6)
    As I just suffered another Hard Drive failure, and lost about 6 albums I had bought as mp3's, I'm still of the opinion that until mp3 stores hold a record of your purchases and allow re-downloading they won't replace CD's completely.
    I'd been holding off buying too much digitally because I was worried about exacctly this happening. The rest of the music I have my CD's to re-rip, but those albums are gone.
    Audible have a great thing where they keep a record of the audiobooks you buy and so you can re-download them for free. Why can't iTunes/Amazon do something similar for the music I buy?
      CommentAuthorAdmiral Neck
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2009 edited
    @RobSpalding, I have a very crap laptop that has broken a few times, meaning I've reinstalled the OS about four times. We have a real problem with this, and have gone through a couple of laptops over the past few years. Sadly, iTunes only allows you to transfer your purchases to five computers, so we're now maxed out. If this laptop goes on the fritz again, iTunes will not recognise this laptop as the old laptop, and will not allow me to get my purchases back. Plus, even when it does work, it rarely reinstalls the purchases anyway. You have to email iTunes to get them to do it. What kind of shitty delivery system are we paying for here?

    Then there's the problem of international delivery. If I want an import CD, I can get it through Amazon, or find it in a specialised store. It'll be pricey, but I can get it. Try doing that with iTunes. There's been a number of albums you can't find on, and you can't download them from This kind of boundary enforcement is just ridiculous. I can sort of understand it for TV shows or movies, but albums? Usually it's only special editions that are available in one country only, but I'm talking releases by independent bands. It drives me crazy.

    And iTunes crashes all the time.

    And it's a pain in the arse to navigate.

    And it's overpriced.

    Fuck iTunes.
    Audible have a great thing where they keep a record of the audiobooks you buy and so you can re-download them for free.

    Xbox Live does this too. It's obviously not hard.
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2009
    Amazon have recently launched a POD CD thing for people who had an Amazon sales rank from mp3 downloads.

    I'm waiting to see the quality before I start promoting my own album but it's interesting that Amazon saw a market for this especially given the method they're using to create the CD's.

    For $9.99 you get a CD-R with my cover art but the rest of the package - interior booklet, CD label - is an Amazon template (and there was no option to choose otherwise when creating the thing ).

    I can't really see the advantage of buying this over downloading the album for $7.99 (from Amazon) and burning it to CD yourself and because so much of the package is from a template I can see people who might buy a few of these Amazon CD's getting a bit miffed with how samey they look but I am curious if I'll get a few sales from people who just want a physical object (especially given how many people downloaded my album from file sharing).
  4.  (6620.9)
    I'm very much an artifact lover. My CD collection is huge, and my vinyl respectable. I find myself buying more vinyl these days, because it's prettier, and I can simply torrent digital copies of stuff I own (or stuff I want to sample, obviously). Of course, there are a number of digital exclusives on my hard drive, but I make back-ups. I'd hate to lose any music, especially stuff I've paid money for.

    I'd hate to see the physical media die, but I think it's a long ways off yet. After all, cassettes are making a comeback (blaargh).
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2009
    I like the smell of vinyl download doesn't replicate that (yet)
  5.  (6620.11)
    most newer records ive been buying are coming with digital download codes for the mp3 inclined... but i am definitely in the physical album camp as you all know. i wont repeat myself and my various reasons why.

    BUT i have made about $200 in the past month selling 4 lps and 5 or 6 7"s. thats just not going to happen with a "rare" or "sought-after" mp3.
    • CommentAuthorVickyHall
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2009
    I would buy more digital music if I-Tunes didn't use that shitty MP4 format I can't play on my cheap shitty player.
  6.  (6620.13)
    All the music i've paid for in the last year or two have been digital download, straight from the artists website. Havent actually bought a physical CD in bloody ages, and when I did, I ripped it straight to the computer and never played it on a CD player. I'm not even sure if I have a CD player...
    When I went home for the summer I stared at my CD shelves and seriously contemplated just copying the whole collection to dvds/harddrive/flashdrives and then selling/binning them and using the space for comicbooks.
  7.  (6620.14)
    ^ I get a bit neurotic about how I rip everything to digital, often before I even play the CD, so I try whenever I can to just put a CD in and listen on the living room speakers.

    My fiancee and I moved in January, and we planned to get some special shelving units made for our CD collection. So far we haven't managed this, so there are 3000+ CDs in boxes in the hallway (and scattered elsewhere about the house). When we do get them made, though, it's going to be brilliant. I get stupidly excited at the thought of this wall of music shelved in oak, the haphazard patterns of the coloured spines neatly arranged. And it will continue to grow, and eventually our kids will bring teenage friends 'round who will all go, "What the fuck is that?", because they will have EBEs with their music on.

    • CommentTimeAug 23rd 2009
    that study/statistic doesnt supprise me. i think as far as stuff i sell goes: digital surpassed phisical a little while ago...

    i prefer the cd format and have tons of cds/vinyl but i have been buying a lot more singles digitally in recent years and prrety much just sticking to albums on cd... i would buy more cds if i wasnt so broke...

    i read an interesting article recenty that pretty much said "new stuff still sells on cd, but old stuff is dropping off a lot because we as a society have pretty much filled in our collective back catalogues.". i thought that was an interesting perspective...
  8.  (6620.16)
    ^ I haven't! My back catalogue still requires much filling in. I'm short a number of Bowie albums, only own the first Neu! record, no physical copies of anything by Can, and I desperately need to expand my Trojan and Motown collections.

    I have a weird relationship with singles. It seems like very few artists I care about really bother with album singles any more. I'll buy a single if it's a non-album track or if the bees are worth owning, but this is a very rare occurance nowadays. I pretty much only buy vinyl singles, and in any case I'll refer to them (somewhat pretentiously) as 7"s (or 10"s/12"s) because to me they're not singles in the sense they're radio promos or chart material; rather they're samplers or standalone releases.

    I used to buy album singles all the time, when there were interesting bees or (occasionally) worthwhile remixes. Now I just buy music that isn't slated for album release or limited editions. Songs I won't hear anywhere else. I'll likely scour the internets for a free (stolen) digital copy for the iPod, so I can prove to that I'm listening to things, but having the artifact is important. It says "I R SRS MUZIK FAN THIS R SRS VNYL".
  9.  (6620.17)
    I miss the days when singles were good. I never bought into the bullshit where I pay more than the price of the album for a single with five shitty dance remixes and maybe a remix where someone raps over part of the song. Whatever happened to good b sides?
  10.  (6620.18)
    I know people who don't buy music, at all. Its fucking horrible, I give my brother shit constantly for this though I can't really complain about him not filling Green Day's coffers any further. I won't pay for digital music. I'm adamant about this, anything impossible to find I'll download illegally until I can find a legit copy.