The IFPI’s 22-page “Recording Industry In Numbers 2010” report offers a great deal of information on global revenue trends, approaches for dealing with piracy and the business models of tomorrow. Here are five important takeaways:

No bottom in sight
There’s hasn’t been a cliff, but the bottom is still not in sight. Between 2003 and 2009, global recorded music revenues have dropped at a compound annual rate of 4.8%. But the rate of decrease has picked up stream. Over the last three years, revenues have fallen at about 7% or more each year. In 2009, global revenues fell 7.2%.

Key to a soft landing
If there is to be a soft landing, a slowing rate of decline will be needed from physical sales. That way digital gains, which have been strong but not mind-blowing, can catch up to physical losses. Surprisingly, there are a few small indications that may happen. Physical dropped 12.7% in 2009, an improvement on its 15% decline in 2008. This year in the US, CD sales are currently faring a bit better than last year. These signs shouldn’t lead you to believe the CD is bound for a recovery, but you might want to put off etching a date on its tombstone.

Digital growth outpaced physical losses in some countries
The two biggest music markets, the US and Japan, accounted for 80% of the drop in revenue. But in six markets, including the UK and Australia, digital growth outstripped losses in physical formats. Expect continued differences between countries in the coming years as governments take unique approaches to anti-piracy legislation and have varying levels of involvement in bringing ISPs and content creators to the negotiating table.

A more open industry
The IFPI emphasizes the need to encourage investment in new services as one of the components in growing the digital music business. The problem is this doesn’t always happen. Over the years, the industry has not been terribly hospitable to new ideas. Entrepreneurs have few reasons – other than a love of music – to bear the restrictions, lawsuits, uncertainties and costs of doing business with music companies. Even if its heart is in the right place, the complicated nature of the music industry makes it a difficult partner. So, the industry should take steps to make it a more attractive business partner. If not, the music products of tomorrow will have to wait.

The anti-piracy effect
Are South Korea and Sweden windows into the future or isolated cases? Trying to estimate the impact of anti-piracy legislation is a futile exercise. Until the law is implemented, who really knows? Now we have two case studies. Little is reported of South Korea since the country implemented a tough anti-piracy legislation last year. The IFPI report says the country experienced a 10.4% increase in music sales in 2009. Sweden, which also implemented its graduated response measures last year, saw its recorded music revenue rise 11.9%. The launch of Spotify was probably a major factor there. One thing the report left out is that P2P traffic in Sweden had reverted to pre-enforcement levels in just eight months, according to Netrod, the largest operator of Internet exchange points in Sweden. That means legal sales rebounded as piracy was on the increase – a mixed victory for content owners, but a victory nonetheless.