ARIA releases half-yearly sales figures

Digital sales continue to grow offsetting physical decline · Influx of new Australian acts keeping company with chart toppers

14 August 2008 (SYDNEY) – The Australian recorded music business is showing positive signs of recovery as digital sales start to strongly compensate for the continuing decline in the traditional physical (CD) business.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) today released its six-month wholesale figures for January to June 2008 – figures which demonstrate the beginning of a remarkable transition to a whole new economy that is still only in its infancy. Despite a four per cent decrease in overall revenues (when compared to the same period last year), that decline was limited to sales of physical product such as CD singles and albums. Conversely, total digital sales were up 43 per cent in value, helping to offset the decline in physical sales.

ARIA Chairman Ed St John, commenting on the figures, says “A four per cent drop on the same period last year might not sound like a cause for celebration, but the fact is this is a considerably shallower decline than we’ve seen in recent years. The growth in digital sales – both single tracks and albums – has almost doubled and that’s an incredibly encouraging statistic. This is only the beginning of a whole new cycle for the Australian music business.”

Digital sales continue to grow
The first half of 2008 has seen consumers re-embrace the Single format – only this time it’s single track downloads instead of CD singles or 7” vinyl. Echoing a worldwide trend, song downloads increased by a whopping 58 per cent (by value). The ratio of digital singles to physical singles is now 20:1, making this format the “first swallow” of the digital summer.

Australian consumers purchased over 12 million digital tracks in the six months to June, up from almost 8 million last year and compared to the 640,000 physical singles shipped in the same period. Digital albums are also increasing in popularity with 55 per cent more units sold, for a total value of more than double the figure for the same time frame last year. Nonetheless, consumers purchasing albums still overwhelmingly prefer to buy them in physical format (CD). CD album sales still accounted for more than 95 per cent of all album sales.

The first half of 2008 also marked the first time a digital-only single went to number one with Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music. A number of other hits have now achieved the #1 position and have had sales well in excess of 100,000 units apiece, thanks to the growing acceptance by Australian music fans of the digital shopping experience. Increase in Music DVD Sales

The music DVD format performed particularly strongly in the six months to June 2008 – thanks in part to the phenomenal success of Andre Rieu. More than two million music DVDs were purchased in Australia during this period, representing a thirteen per cent increase over last year.

Influx of new Australian acts keeping company with chart toppers

Home-grown Australian music continues to excite local fans – in fact domestic music accounts for approximately one-third of all acts on the Motorola ARIA Charts. A mix of established Australian chart acts like Missy Higgins, Powderfinger, Delta Goodrem, The Veronicas and Keith Urban shared the limelight with new talent such as Carl Risely, The Potbelleez, Angus and Julia Stone and Axel Whitehead and independent success stories John Butler Trio, Sneaky Sound System, British India and The Getaway Plan.

So far this year, six Aussie acts have already had a number one album or single with only two artists, Kasey Chambers and Pete Murray, having been at the top spot previously. New local acts to hit number one on the Motorola ARIA Charts in the first half of 2008 include Gyroscope, Gabriella Cilmi, Cut Copy and The Presets. ARIA will recognise these and all other Australian artists who reach number one in 2008 at its annual ARIA #1 Chart Awards in early 2009.

Optimism for second half of ‘08
Australian record companies are tipping a strong second half to 2008 thanks to a schedule of major domestic and international releases and another bumper Summer of festivals and major tours.

The ARIA Awards – recognising excellence in local Australian music – take place on October 19, 2008.

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. For more information:

More Information...2008 ARIA Yearly Statistics

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