The Australian music market is now the sixth biggest in the world, and 2012 proved it getting even bigger, showing its biggest growth since 2009 according to the latest report from ARIA.

The figures from ARIA show some interesting statistics on top of the market enjoying a 4% overall gain in value to last year’s $398.1 million figure last year, the first upward trend the industry has experienced in annual wholesale figures since 2009; namely that along with the predicted increase of digital music sales, that people are still steadily buying vinyl and CD singles (nearly tripling its figure from last year!), while the entrance of streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora has had a significant impact also.

Over 46% of the Australian market’s value came from digital products in 2012, which was marked increase from 36.7% in last year’s results, which follows the recent prediction that digital music sales are set to overtake physical in the very near future.

The 2012 report shows that 110,419,156 digital tracks were purchased nearly doubling 2011’s figures, while the download of digital albums rose from around 4,000 last year to 6,838,094 in 2012. Streaming services also saw a big leap in market share, with ad supported models – such as the recently Ausralian launched Pandora – more than doubling their figures to 9,099,547 and subscription services – such as Spotify – seeing monstrous growth in their launch year, from just 637,712 in 2011 to a whopping 2,119,462 in 2012.

Meanwhile physical sales continue to experience a decline, though not as sharp as previous years, 2012 saw a drop of 6.42% in physical sales, while still accounting for a dominant 53.7% share of the market’s revenue, signalling that the Australian music buying public still command CDs, DVDs, and vinyl.“It is very pleasing to see the Industry achieve growth in 2012″ – Denis Handlin, ARIA

The sale of vinyl increased from 2011, proving to be a reliable – if niche – sales earner, with combined sales of vinyl singles and albums rising from 58,513 in 2011 to 99,557 in the last twelve months. Music Video and DVD remained hovered around the 1,800,000 mark, but CD Albums experienced a drop of a million from 2011’s 20,539,253 to 19,001,519 in the last year. The sale of CD singles however (who even sells these anymore?) have nearly tripled, in a bizarre twist that sees them rising from a meagre 47,472 in 2011 to 174,150 in 2012 (maxi-single revival anyone?).

“It is very pleasing to see the Industry achieve growth in 2012,” said ARIA Chairman Denis Handlin of the positive results. “The Record Industry has revolutionised over the past decade and has led the way in new business models, in particular licensing digital services, whilst strongly supporting traditional CD retailers.”

Mr Handlin also noted that work with Government and ISPS “to ensure artists and their record labels are properly rewarded for their creative efforts is still far from finished,” with the trade body emphasising that music piracy was still threatening local industry, but adding “the demand for music is as strong as ever and Australian music fans are embracing the many legitimate platforms,” as the increased digital sales and streaming services demonstrate.

The successes, both locally and internationally, of the likes of Tame Impala, Flume, The Rubens, Gotye, and strong album sales from the likes of The Temper Trap and 360, were also applauded by the ARIA chairman. Mr Handlin saying that the growth was a “testament to the continued creative work of our brilliant artists and the innovative approach of our local industry in marketing and taking music to fans across the country.”

“…It is a great time to be a music fan in Australia.” – Dan Rosen, ARIA

ARIA CEO Dan Rosen was also optimistic about the future of the Australian industry. “The continued innovation in new music services, means fans of all types, can now get their music when and how they want, whether by streaming, downloading or visiting their local record store,” remarked Mr Rosen.

Speaking late last year to the Australian Financial Review about the digital music boom, ARIA CEO Dan Rosen said that “the trends show (digital) sales by value will be over 50 per cent digital for the calendar year 2012; that would put us in line with the US and the UK, which is great news.”

Rosen today called the 2012 figures as reflecting “a formative year for the Australian recorded music industry,” with results “combined with a host of great local and international releases, means it is a great time to be a music fan in Australia.”

ARIA are hoping that the strong 2012 figures will continue into 2013 on the basis of a host of local releases from big sellers like Bernard Fanning, Birds of Tokyo, the AMP shortlisted Hermitude, Hilltop Hoods, Boy & Bear, Matt Corby, Washington, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Drones, a swathe of new material from Pond, and the just-announced album from Big Scary.

Pop acts like Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Reece Mastin, Samantha Jade, and Timomatic are also expected to help strong sales growth based on their successes in that field for 2012.

Then there’s the host of international artists who will have albums in the market place within the next 12 months, including new albums from Soundwave headliners MetallicaFall Out Boy‘s latest, The Strokes’ fifth LP, Daft Punk’s long-awaited fourth studio albumDavid Bowie’s first new album in a decade, and let’s not forget new records due soon from Groovin The Moo act Tegan & Sara,Vampire WeekendYeah Yeah YeahsBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club, Phoenix, The National, and The Knife’s 98 minute opusShaking The Habitual.

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