The French recorded music wholesale market dropped 5% year-on-year in Q1 2011, generating €121.8 million (about $171 million) , according to the country's labels trade body SNEP (Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique).
The physical market dropped 9.3% to €95.5 million ($133 million) and the digital market went up 13.2% to €26.3 million ($36 million).
Internet downloads were up 7.8% to €13.5 million ($19 million), while streaming revenue grew 23.1% to €3.1 million ($4.3 million) and subscription revenues went up 56.9% to €5.9 million ($8.26885 million)
"These results confirm the [digital market's] upward trend, especially in regards to the positive subscription figures" SNEP director general David El Sayegh told Billboard.biz.
El Sayegh also acknowledged the recent partnership between French leading carrier Orange and on demand streaming platform Deezer boosted the market.
Effective since September 2010, the deal allowed Orange to include Deezer's music service in its offer - for free or for an additional fee depending on the package. In a conference hosted by French national Library BnF on May 13, Universal France President Pascal Nègre estimated that the percentage of Orange clients able to access Deezer and effectively activating the service was of around 30%.
El Sayegh stressed the digital market now represents over 20% of the recorded music market for the first time in France, adding it was now important to ensure the digital music economic model would allow to offset the loss on physical sales, "which is not the case at the moment."
El Sayegh also said SNEP would focus in 2011 on enhancing the space allowed on French radio and television channels and expected improvements on the music card initiative launched by the government in October 2010. The card offers discounted streaming service access and cheap downloads to consumers aged 12-25. El Sayegh said he was not aware of the initiative impact but reckoned it was not a success so far.