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Decline of CD sales slower than expected


Recent figures suggest that sales of CDs, long thought to be on the way out following the advent of digital downloads, are surprisingly resilient. 

Figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association show that CD sales in the UK fell at the slowest rate in a decade in 2015: a decrease of just 3.7% compared to 8% in 2014, 12% in 2013 and a staggering 20% in 2012.

In parallel, download sales in fact dropped 13% in 2015 to just £300m.

In addition, vinyl has carved out its own modern niche. Vinyl record sales in 2015 surged by 65%, with over 2.1m LPs sold, though it still only accounts for 2% of the UK’s music consumption.

“It is clearly way too soon to write off the CD or other disc-based formats,” said ERA Chief Executive Kim Bayley. “The fact is that different formats provide different benefits to different groups of entertainment fans. That diversity is proving to be the entertainment market’s greatest strength.”

Despite the staunchness of physical formats, the fastest growing aspect of the music business is streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple. Revenues from these leapt 50% compared to last year.

According to the ERA, growth in digital formats across entertainment outweighs the decline of the physical. Online services across music, video and games continue to grow in strength, and while fans will always take pride in their physical collections, the industry is still surely heading in a digital direction.

Published on Wednesday 06 January by Philip Gallagher

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