The recent Q1 figures brought positive news for the music industry, with even physical music not suffering as much as might have been expected despite HMV out of action for some weeks.
Now the latest data from Kantar, for the 12 weeks to April 7, suggests that it was a relatively quiet quarter for physical entertainment.
A decline in shopper numbers, fewer major gaming and music releases and store closures for HMV meant the overall market declined by 17.4% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 7 April when compared with last year. According to BPI Q1 figures, physical album sales were down almost 20%.
Giulia Barresi, consumer specialist at Kantar, said: “After a slow first quarter as shoppers took stock after Christmas, developers and retailers must now reposition and look to promote something extra beyond the obvious benefits physical formats can offer. Now more than ever the market needs to be creative and offer consumers something they can’t get from newer media – and this has started to show.”
Social media allows artists with dedicated followings to link their marketing directly to their personal sales arms
Kantar identified D2C and sales at venues as a growth area for physical music.
Barresi said: “Artist websites and concert venues now account for 7.3% of the market, up from 4.7% this time last year. As shoppers don’t need to buy an album to listen to it anymore, they are willing to splash out on the music they actually want to keep and the artists they want to support. The power of social media allows artists with smaller and more dedicated followings to link their marketing directly to their personal sales arms. For high street retailers, stocking additional merchandise to tie in to big releases may be a way to encourage shoppers to purchase them outright rather than listening to major hits through streaming services.”
Musicals and biopics continue to dominate among feature-length titles on home video. Following the success of The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody was the best-selling title in the first quarter of this year, taken home by 600,000 shoppers in the past 12 weeks. However, overall the physical video market declined by 24%.
There were shifts in the share of physical entertainment for retailers over the period, with Tesco down 1.3 percentage points year-on-year at 9.6%, Amazon down 0.7 points at 25.3% and HMV down 5.1 points at 17.4% - although that result was impacted by the chain coming out administration and shuttering some of its stores.