Trade revenue generated by global recorded music sales totaled $15.9 billion in 2010, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's (IFPI) annual report. That represents a year-on-year decline of 8.4% compared to 2009, when global sales amounted to $17.4 billion.
IFPI's annual "Recording Industry in Numbers" study also states that physical format sales once again slumped by 14.2% globally, falling from a trade value of $12.2 billion in 2009 to $10.4 billion.
The U.S and Japan, the world's two largest music markets respectively, accounted for 57% of the global decline in 2010, compared with 80% in 2009, says IFPI. Recorded music sales in the States were down 10% to $4.17 billion (compared to $4.63 billion in 2009), while Japan's market dropped 8.3% to $3.96 billion (from $4.32 billion in 2009).
Global digital revenues did, however, climb by 5.3% to total $4.6 billion, with digital formats accounting for 29% of all recorded music sales in 2010 -- a 4% growth on the previous year. Digital sales now account for 49% of all U.S. music sales in 2010, up from 43% the previous year.
The report also said that music subscription services "expanded their audiences significantly in the past year," and estimates that ten million consumers worldwide subscribed to a music service.
Performance rights revenues grew by 4.6% in 2010, totaling $851 million and accounting for 5% of global trade revenues. Although Europe continues to be the global market leader in this sector, the U.S. experienced significant growth in performance rights revenue, climbing from $70 million in 2009 to $90 million in 2010. India also saw large growth in performance rights revenue, growing from $26.2 million to $40.1 million.
In total, sales of recorded music were up in three major markets: India (+16.5%), South Korea (+11.7%) and Mexico (+0.9%). Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Argentina, Central America and Caribbean, Chile and Peru also experienced varying degrees of growth in their individual markets.
The United Kingdom, however, fell to No. 4 in the IFPI's rankings of the world's largest music markets, with Germany overtaking it to steal the No. 3 spot. Recorded music sales in the U.K. in 2010 totaled $1.38 billion, a massive 11% fall from $1.55 billion in 2009. Recorded music sales in Germany, meanwhile, totaled $1.41 billion, representing a more moderate 4.1% decline from 2009. Elsewhere, Spain dropped out of the Top 10 world rankings, reflecting years of falling sales and widespread piracy.
Reflecting on the report, IFPI chief executive Frances Moore, called for further support from governments and policy makers to help curb piracy and arrest the global decline in recorded music sales.
"The demand for new music seems as insatiable and diverse as ever, and record companies continue to meet it," said Moore in a statement. "But they are operating at only a fraction of their potential because of a difficult environment dominated by piracy. Determined action by governments and intermediaries to tackle this problem could create a framework for increased growth, more investment in artists and greater consumer choice."
Also included within the annual "Recording Industry in Numbers" report was a list of 2010's bestselling global albums, which was topped by Eminem's "Recovery" (Universal). Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" (Universal) came in second, while Susan's Boyle's "The Gift" (Sony Music) sat at No. 3, followed by Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" (Universal).