UK music industry body the BPI released its half-year sales figures yesterday, revealing that album unit-sales dropped 13.8% year-on-yea to 43.6m in the first half of 2012, while single sales rose 8.3% to 46.9m.
The body preferred to focus on strong growth for digital album sales – up 17.3% in the year to date, and up 15% in Q2 specifically, when they accounted for 34.7% of all albums sold in the UK (7.1m).
We found chief executive Geoff Taylor’s comment on the figures interesting: “Album unit sales are down quite significantly year-on-year, but it’s important to remember that these unit sales figures do not take into account the growing importance of music streaming and subscription services.”
A fair point, but one that begs the question of when the BPI will take that importance into account in the figures it releases. With more data available on streaming services – the Official Charts Company’s recently-launched chart, for example – it may be time for the BPI to publish more data on ‘listens’ as well as unit sales.
Of course, the impact of streaming and subscription services comes through in BPI and IFPI reports on trade revenues, but it strikes us that more could be done. For example, the BPI reports that Gotye ft Kimbra’s Somebody That I Used To Know (Gotye pictured) is the best-selling UK single of 2012 so far with more than 1m sales, but it would be useful to have some streaming figures alongside that.