ERA v IFPI: Kim Bayley hits out at 'blinkered' attitude to physical music

ERA v IFPI: Kim Bayley hits out at 'blinkered' attitude to physical music

The IFPI issued its Music Consumer Insight Report this week, with plenty of statistical nuggets on streaming. But of physical music - still a big chunk of the market, as shown by new research from Kantar Worldpanel - there was no mention.

Perhaps understandably, that’s got ERA CEO Kim Bayley riled. The trade body represents both physical and digital retailers, so much so it has taken an agnostic approach covering streaming, downloads and physical for the inaugural National Album Day this weekend (October 13) in partnership with the BPI.

Bayley has now written to the IFPI to protest about the Music Consumer Insight Report, specifically its failure to mention physical formats once in its 20-page review of music fans’ listening habits.

In her letter, Bayley has urged the IFPI to abandon its “blinkered view of the world”.

Of course, physical music has been in decline, though value has dropped less than volume. Bayley pointed out that, according to the IFPI’s own statistics, physical music sales were worth $5 billion in 2017.

“No one is more enthusiastic about the rise of streaming than ERA,” wrote Bayley. “Indeed it is our members including Spotify, Amazon, Deezer and Google who are substantially responsible for the recent upturn in the recorded music industry’s fortunes.

“However, all of our members are agreed – as outlined in our recent manifesto, Delivering The Future Of Entertainment - that the key to a healthy music eco-system is a diverse channel landscape, embracing physical as well as digital formats.”

The IFPI does cover physical music in its annual global music report, which also registers CD and download sales in its round-up of the biggest artist albums of the year.

A spokesperson for IFPI said: “Our Music Consumer Insight Report focuses largely on emerging trends and activities related to music consumption around the world.  Whilst we don’t have a specific section on the consumption of music through physical formats, the sections looking at time spent listening to music, the activities carried out whilst listening to music and the parts throughout looking at the most popular genres all include physical formats as a listening method.
 
“We fully recognise the importance of physical formats to the global music market. IFPI also publishes annually our Global Music Report in which we provide a comprehensive overview of the global recorded music market that includes full data on the revenue generated by physical formats worldwide.”

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