Worldwide digital music revenues last year rose 9 per cent to US$5.6 billion, accounting for 34 per cent of revenues which amounted to $16.5bn, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
Revenues from physical music sales, mainly CDs, fell 5 per cent but still accounted for some two thirds of the recorded music business.
Within digital music revenues, download sales increased in volume by 12 per cent globally last year and represent about 70 per cent of overall digital music revenues. But streaming is expanding fast, aided by the global expansion of smartphones, with the number of people paying to use subscription services jumping 44 per cent last year to 20 million.
To illustrate that growth, in 2011 major international download and subscription services existed in 23 markets around the world. Today, they are present in more than 100 markets.
Digital income now accounts for the majority of record companies' earnings in an increasing number of markets including India, Norway, Sweden and the US.