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ERA hits out at IFPI’s disc free music consumption report

By | Published on Monday 15 October 2018


The UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association has hit out at the recent Music Consumer Insight Report from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry for failing to mention physical music product at all.

The report, published last week, included various facts and figures about the way people are consuming music in 2018, revealing that 86% of those surveyed used on-demand streaming services of one kind or another to access at least some of their music. Meanwhile, 50% of respondents said that they’d choose streaming if there could only be one kind of music consumption.

But what about all the plastic discs? That’s what ERA would like to know. So much so, the trade group’s CEO Kim Bayley has written to the IFPI to ask.

“No one is more enthusiastic about the rise of streaming than ERA”, she says, noting that Spotify, Deezer, Amazon and Google are among its membership. “However”, she goes on, “all of our members are agreed – as outlined in our recent manifesto ‘Delivering The Future Of Entertainment’ – that the key to a healthy music eco-system is a diverse channel landscape, embracing physical as well as digital formats”.

For a while trade groups for both the record companies and the record sellers talked quite a bit about how the recorded music business was now “multi-channelling” – as UK record industry trade group BPI put it – which is to say making music available in multiple formats and allowing consumers to pick whichever one they liked best.

However – while the BPI does still talk up CD sales from time to time – the globally-focused IFPI has more recently tended to focus very much on the streams in its various reports. Even though physical sales (and mainly CD) accounted for 30% of the record industry’s global revenues in 2017, about the same percentage as in the UK.

That said, a key role of the IFPI is lobbying on behalf the global record industry. And in that domain, of course, the ‘value gap’ campaign – and the impact user-upload platforms like YouTube have had on premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music – has topped the agenda for a quite while now.

That is possibly why last week’s IFPI report focused on things like, well, the impact user-upload platforms like YouTube have on premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

But Bayley says that by focusing exclusively on the streams the IFPI has a “blinkered view of the world” and that it should acknowledge the continued popularity of physical product when talking about music consumption trends.

Hell, I’m just back from Indonesia where the cassette revival seems to be in full swing. So I propose that all music industry trade bodies commit to make that the focus of all reports in the next twelve months. I mean, I think we all deserve a little break from the bloody value gap. Bring on the tapes!