French Music Sales Slow in 2011, Digital Continues Growth
French Music Sales Slow in 2011, Digital Continues Growth

The French recorded music market dropped 5.7% for the first half of 2011 to €225.9 million (about $307 million) labels body SNEP (which stands for Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique) revealed at a Paris press conference last week.

Physical sakes dropped 12% to €172.7 million ($234 million) compared to the first half of 2010. Digital sales, however, went up 22.7% compared to the first six months of 2010 to €53.2 million ($72 million) and now account for 23.5% of the recorded music market.

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Internet downloads were up 13.2%, while ad funded streaming revenue went up 44.7%. The most impressive growth came from subscription based music services, which went up 103%, primarily due to France's leading ISP and mobile carrier Orange now bundling Deezer music subscriptions into its service.

Downloads represent 51.3% of the digital market, against 23.2% for subscription based services, 12.9% for ad funded streaming and 12.6% for mobile services.

Rather unsurprisingly, the ringtone market shrank 20.2%.

"My intuition is that new consumers are starting to come to the digital market," said SNEP President and Believe Digital CEO Denis Ladegaillerie.

Snep's director general David El Sayegh praised the action of HADOPI, the body handling the three-strike scheme designed by law to fight illegal download. "HADOPI has been more than efficient," he said, "with P2P traffic slowing down and the digital market rocketing [since first warning messages were sent]." Hadopi will unveil exact figures after a year of operation in a press conference on September 29.

While hoping the digital growth is not far from offsetting the losses on physical sales, SNEP still called for the government to support record labels' investment on new talent in this tough transitional economical phase. A government-led mission will unveil its recommendation on this aspect within the coming weeks.