The BPI, UK's recording industry group, has released sales figures for 2010, and they show a dramatic increase in the number of items sold.
Up 27% from 2009, 281.7 million units sold, the greatest ever annual results recorded by the BPI.
However, revenue is down, and the BPI is blaming piracy for this downturn. In its statement, the BPI said that it estimates 1.2b tracks were downloaded illegally in 2010.
However, there may be an far simpler and more likely explanation for the contrasting units sold and revenue figures. The increasing popularity of digital purchases means people are buying more single tracks than ever, but buying less and less full CD albums. The BPI's own numbers back this up, with CD sales down 12.4%.
The BPI, however, attributes falling CD sales to online piracy. But that does not explain the rise in digital album sales, up 30.6%, even though digital media, in theory, should be more affected by digital piracy.
Interestingly, live performance attendances are up for the year, and this greatly benefits artists, who only see a small percentage from actual album/track sales (with most of the money going to recording labels and managers).
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