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April 2009 Editorial

RIAA 2008 report on Music & Video sales: vinyl and music downloads are growing quickly!

Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy

It is always quite interesting having a look at the official RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reports on Music sales. At least, they give an idea on what's going on re: new and old formats, liquid Music and so on. The RIAA reports are related to the US market only but they draw a clear picture of market trends. Considering the 90% of US labels are under the RIAA umbrella and that the US market is definitely the most representative of the current trends I hope you agree these data can be extremely meaningful.
If you wish to read the whole report, you can download it directly from the RIAA website (the link opens a PDF file).

Having a look at the statistics one thing catches the eye immediately: it's the vinyl/LP growth trend!!! In 2007 the vinyl sales went up by an impressive +36% (with respect to 2006) but, hear hear!, we have +124% passing from 2007 to 2008! And this is the one and only + sign in the RIAA "physical media" chart!!! CDs (-24.7%) and DVD Videos (-53.8%) are going down by the drain, very quickly.
Of course, it should be remarked that vinyl sales are still the 1% of the total of music sales but the trend is interesting nonetheless. With 2.9 millions of units sold, vinyl sales in 2009 reached the same level we had ten years ago (1999). Not bad, considering we had only 0.9 millions of units in 2006!
Liquid Music is going well, too, with a general increase of +28.1% with respect to 2007.

It is interesting to compare "digital" (liquid music) vs "physical" sales: 16% vs 84% in 2006, 23% vs 77% in 2007 and finally 32% vs 68% in 2008. This means that "digital" online Music is growing rapidly, despite the fact some HiFi guru believes this is a phenomenon which won't last ;-)
Furthermore, if you want more infos on the international rate of growth of "digital" online sales see the IFPI 2009 report (IFPI stands for International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and represents the recording industry worldwide with some 1400 members in 72 countries and affiliated industry associations in 44 countries. On a different PDF report you can compare "physical vs online" sales in 2008, still worldwide. The statistics confirm what happens in the US market (not a surprise).

We at TNT-Audio believe that the future of Music is its "liquid" state and that physical media are doomed to disappear, the digital ones, at least. If you can download a high-resolution studio-master quality file from the Internet, purchasing a scaled-down 16/44 CD might be seen as a pure nonsense, especially if the same album can be purchased as LP :-)
Selling a vinyl together with an online download key will be a very successful marketing choice. You can get the best of both worlds: the best physical medium you can get (LP) together with an easy to use music file you can store anywhere you want, be it your PC, a CD-R, an USB pen. For this reason we will be reviewing more and more USB DACs and music servers, together with vinyl replay systems.

For us Music lovers the scenario isn't a reassuring one, though. Having a look at the global trend we can't help but notice that music sales (overall) have gone down during 2008, at an alarming -8.3% rate (it was -4.7 % in 2007). This means that, despite the growth of vinyl sales and online downloads people have purchased less Music in 2008. This can also be tought as a side-effect of the global financial crisis but it is something that worries us a bit. We can't think at a World without Music.

© Copyright 2009 Lucio Cadeddu - www.tnt-audio.com

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