Labels' income from digital music up 8% in 2011

Labels' income from digital music up 8% in 2011
Look how we've visualised digital music here - it's inspiring

Record labels made 8 per cent more from digital music in 2011 than they did in 2010, according to new figures released by the IFPI today.

This takes the revenues from digital tunes up to around $5.2 billion globally, with income coming from streaming services as well as digital song and album sales.

Around 32 per cent of all the money record companies make now comes from "digital channels" , so it's no wonder that they still have quite the bee in their collective bonnet over piracy and all the lovely cash they're missing out on because of it.

The report estimates that 28 per cent of internet users around the world access unauthorised services on a monthly basis and that equates to rather a lot of lost revenue from digital sales and streaming royalties.

Wikipedia blackout taught them nothing

Worryingly, the IFPI seems to think that site blocking is the best way to tackle this issue, stating that the government has "disappointingly" deemed the Digital Economy Act's website blocking proposals unworkable.

Given the furore over SOPA and its similar proposals, we'd say it's less disappointing and more in tune with the zeitgeist and web freedoms and people's opposition to allowing arbitrary censorship, but hey.

The other action that IFPA wants taken is for search engines to downgrade links to sites that infringe copyrights – alongside this, the IFPI had over 15 million infringing links removed from search results in 2011, up 115 per cent compared to 2010.

Streaming services had a stellar year in 2011 – no surprise – with the IFPI deciding that Facebook integration increased Spotify's reach (duh) and the increase in use of smartphones and tablets helped too.

What will warm the cockles of Spotify, Deezer and et als' hearts is the recognition that "the cumulative payment triggered by a consumer repeatedly listening to an album or track may be higher over a longer period" than a single track download.

Even so, single track and album downloads haven't suffered at the hands of the all-you-can-eat streaming model; in the UK, single track sales are up 8 per cent, while premium content and savvy marketing saw album downloads shoot up by 27 per cent across the year - although rival figures suggest that album sales as a whole (digital and physical) are down.

From IFPI via MusicAlly

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.