For the first time ever in Singapore, digital music sales overtook those of CDs and records sales last year. However, this was not because of a huge increase in the digital music sales, but rather far fewer CDs had been sold.
In terms of numbers, sales for digital music hit US$5.5 million last year, up 28 per cent from 2012. However, sales of CDs and records dipped by 44 per cent in the same period to S$4.5 million (US$S$4.5 million), based on data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
As a comparison, 5 years back in 2009, sales of CDs and records were worth US$18.8 million and digital music sales were just US$3.4 million.
Ang Kwee Tiang, IFPI’s regional director for Asia, blamed the easy access to illegal content online for the drop in CD sales. On top of that, there is a recent explosion of music services, such as Apple’s iTunes, as well as online music streaming services Deezer, Spotify and KKBOX. An album with 12 songs on a CD can cost S$20, but the digital version on iTunes goes for S$12.
The rise of music in digital form is inevitable: illegal music downloads are readily accessible in Singapore, which music streaming site allow users to download it onto their computer and share the music to the same user account without much hassle.
While the Singapore government is trying to clamp down on illegal music sites, and will soon hold a parliament debate a law to block all illegal sites in Singapore, major telcos in Singapore has been champions of music streaming sites. In December last year, it announced a partnership with Singapore mobile service provider M1, to provide its post paid users unlimited Premium+ access to Deezer’s music library at a special rate of S$5.99 per month. The usual fee for unlimited music streaming on Deezer is at S$9.90.