ARIA releases 2008 wholesale sales figures

Sales of Digital products continue to rise as new Australian acts impact charts

11 March 2009 (SYDNEY) – The Australian recorded music business continues to demonstrate strong growth in digital products, with digital albums showing a remarkable increase in popularity as the public embraces an alternative way to purchase their favourite music.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) today released its wholesale sales figures covering January to December 2008 and, whilst sales of physical products declined by 12%, digital sales have continued to grow, rising 35% and over 14 million in value. Digital album sales led this revolution, up nearly 100% in dollar value and 261% in unit terms over the year with digital tracks increasing in value by 43%.

Further evidence that the industry is in a period of growth comes from sales for the last quarter of 2008, where for a period of 6 weeks - and led by blockbuster releases from artists such as P!nk, Kings Of Leon and AC/DC - CD sales increased as much as 57% on a week by week comparison over the same period in 2007. Andre Rieu proved a boon to music DVD sales, accounting for 9 different titles at number one, across 36 weeks of the year. Album sales for the first 8 weeks of this year, when compared with the same period in 2008, are also up substantially overall. In certain weeks this equates to as much as 75%, whilst Top 50 album sales have grown by over 150,000 units.

ARIA Chairman Ed St John said today, “It’s very encouraging to see this growth in our business and the enormous potential that digital music represents. Whilst the physical CD still accounts for the bulk of album sales, and the CD retail business is still alive and well, digital albums represent a significant opportunity for the industry. There’s no question that there are some real changes occurring in music consumer behaviour, indeed the industry anticipated the trend and made preparations for it.”

Digital sales continue to grow
The first half of 2008 was defined by the continued growth of single track downloads, which was then eclipsed by the sales of digital albums over the entire 12 month period, where they more than tripled compared to 2007 figures. Digital track sales rose from 17 million units the year prior to nearly 24 million units in 2008, compared with physical singles, which sold 1.3 million units in the same time frame. 2008 also generated the first two digital-only number one singles, Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music and Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl.

New Australian acts continue to impact at top of the charts
2008 saw a plethora of new names make their mark on the ARIA Charts. Whilst chart heavy weights such as AC/DC, Kasey Chambers, Sneaky Sound System and Pete Murray continued to grow their previous successes, it was a remarkable batch of new names that graced the top of the charts – Gabriella Cilmi, Cut Copy, The Presets, Wes Carr, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Jessica Mauboy, Van She, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, The Getaway Plan, Carl Riseley and Empire Of The Sun, to name just a few.

2009 – The Year Ahead
Despite the global economic outlook, the industry is feeling optimistic that overall industry sales figures will remain solid through 2009, due to a strong schedule of releases and extensive tour activity.

“I think the essential message here is that music is a very resilient product in times of economic instability,” says St John. “Not only are we seeing strong and consistent growth in digital music, we’ve also seen a strong surge in spending on music – both physical and digital - over the last quarter of 2008 and the first weeks of 2009.“The Australian music industry of 2009 is leaner, smarter and more diversified. In my observation, all the labels have restructured their operations to provide a better service for artists and consumers. We’ve embraced online marketing and digital distribution. And best of all, there’s so much amazing Australian talent that continues to resonate with fans of all ages. We’re excited about the future.”

About ARIA
ARIA is a national industry association representing major and independent record producers, manufacturers and distributors. It acts as an advocate for the Australian music industry, administers the labeling code of practice, provides a ‘blanket’ non-exclusive licensing function for copyright users and compiles industry information and research.

2008 ARIA Yearly Statistics

Contact: Nicole Hart, Communications Manager, ARIA
M: 0418 324 312

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