Slump in album sales could see end of CD

The record industry suffered a double whammy at the beginning of 2008, as album sales were hit by a catastrophic decline, according to new figures, and experts predicted that plans to legalise the copying of music between formats could soon render the CD redundant.

The BPI, which represents the UK music industry, has revealed that sales of albums had plunged by a remarkable 10.8 per cent in 2007. When compilations and soundtracks were stripped out of the figures the fall was an even more dramatic 14.3 per cent on the previous year, which in turn was nearly 3 per cent down on 2005 sales.

Despite the success of home-grown acts such as Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis, whose albums Back to Black and Spirit shifted four million albums between them, 2007 was far from a vintage year for new releases with 16 million fewer albums sold than in 2006. Figures were boosted however by the appeal of compilations such as the Now That's What I Call Music which reached 68 in the series this year and the two High School Musical soundtrack albums.

The BPI said album sales were still well above 1990s levels and that singles, fuelled by the soaring growth in downloads, enjoyed the third biggest year on record. But the popularity of digital music was blamed for hurting the performance of albums as many fans now prefer to download individual tracks, often recommended by reviewers, rather than investing in the whole thing.

Copyright theft and deteriorating retail conditions were also blamed for the fall. However, some commentators pointed to an overall decline in the number and quality of this year's big releases. Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, said: "It would be hard to think of a real classic this year by a major artist other than Amy Winehouse. When you look at the state of the album charts, much of it is piffle, this is traditionally the time when you get some sort of backlash movement launched.

"If it is still the same at the end of next year then we should all be worried."

The industry is now pinning its future on its ability to generate new talent and new formats, particularly online and on mobile phones. The BPI chief executive, Geoff Taylor, said: "The UK market remains a strong performer internationally and the pace of growth in digital sales is encouraging. Music in all its forms is more popular than ever and the recorded music sector will reap the benefits as the online market matures."

Yesterday, Lord Triesman, the minister for Intellectual Property, alarmed the industry when he proposed changes to copyright laws to allow consumers to move their music legally from CDs to MP3 players. Though technically illegal, the practice is virtually universal among music fans, many of whom have spent hundreds of hours transferring record collections to their computers and iPods.

Alison Wenham, chief executive of the Association of Independent Music, warned the Government not to mess with the current law. "This will be widely assumed to be a green light on the right to copy," she said. "There is a huge danger this will lead to uncontrollable file sharing. It is hard to put a definite date on it but we are not talking here about the survival of the CD format."

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'