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Mobiles not iTunes to spur music sales

UK record labels hope to kickstart growth

UK record labels are looking to the mobile phone industry to kick-start growth in digital music sales, according to industry body the BPI.

The BPI notes that UK consumers are Europe's biggest mobile downloaders, with mobile services boosting current growth in digital music sales

While demand for older monophonic and polyphonic ringtones is in decline, record labels are set to benefit as new business models emerge in mobile, creating new markets for recorded music.

Digital music has transformed the record business. Legal downloads now account for around 80 percent of all single track sales and 50 percent of chart singles according to the Official UK Charts Company, and many of those sales are now made through mobile platforms.

Digital music consultancy MusicAlly estimates that UK consumers download up to 1.3 million tracks per month using their mobiles.

The BPI notes that the traditional high cost of downloading files over mobile networks, consumer confusion over differing services and low 3G penetration have been barriers to market growth. The organisation hopes that mobile firms will address these market inhibitors to spur growth.

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: "Just five years ago, CD sales were the recording industry's only significant source of income but digital distribution, mobile and online, has created a myriad of new business models that labels are now driving forward.

Taylor also observed that, "Legal downloads have transformed the singles business; record labels are set to capitalise upon further developments in mobile technology in this rapidly changing business climate."


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