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The Record Business Is Coming Back, But It's Not 1999 Yet

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The Record Business Is Coming Back, But It's Not 1999 Yet

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:24 pm

Story :

Reports of a full recovery by the record business may be exaggerated.

A recent annual report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) trumpets global recorded music revenue swelling in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year, up 9.7% over 2017 figures, with the highest rate of growth since the recording industry trade group began tracking in 1997 and the tallest total sales since 2007 when revenues reached $18.4 billion.

The industry indeed is recuperating steadily from a near-death experience in the mid-2000s, when illegal file sharing devastated record sales. But worldwide recording revenue today is only a fraction of what it was at its peak in 1999. In that banner year the industry claimed some $39 billion in global revenue, according to the IFPI. In today’s dollars, the 1999 sum approaches $60 billion, two thirds higher than 2018’s revenue harvest of $19.1 billion.

Nonetheless, distribution costs in the digital era are far below what they were in the physical age, leading to better net profits. The cost of releasing a recording on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music is next to nil compared to the nut distributors had to make for shipping and storage in 1999. Additionally, sky high recording budgets, private jets and glamorous lifestyles are harder to come by in today’s trimmer record business.

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