Sales of music fell at a faster rate in 2007 than 2006 despite digital sales soaring. Global digital sales grew by
around 40 per cent in 2007, the IFPI group said, but this was not enough to offset the sharp fall in CD sales, meaning the overall market is expected to be down around 10 per cent for 2007.

As part of its response, the
industry is calling on Internet service providers to take more responsibility
for illegal file sharing by either disconnecting those who repeatedly upload
music or preventing illegal tracks from being downloaded.

Many ISPs have so far proved
reluctant to engage on the matter, but the music industry is hoping this could
change following a move by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to block Web access
to those frequently downloading music or films illegally.

"It is hard to persuade anyone
to be a pioneer but what we have with the French government is a very energetic
government understanding how important the French music industry is to French
business and culture," IFPI Chief Executive John Kennedy

"That leadership shows
that it’s not as dreadful or as problematic as people think," he said in an
interview. The industry has also been boosted by a landmark ruling in Belgium
which ordered a service provider to block illegal file-sharing – although the
company is appealing – while in Britain, the government has said it could impose
legislation if an agreed settlement between both sides cannot be found.

A year-long negotiation period
expired at the end of 2007. The music industry says it has been forced to turn
to legal remedies after rampant Internet piracy rocked its traditional revenue

Physical sales of music
have dropped, with total album sales plunging 15 per cent in 2007 in the United
States, the world’s biggest music market, and falling over 10 per cent in
Britain. The IFPI said tens of billions of illegal files were swapped in 2007,
with the ratio of unlicensed tracks downloaded to legal tracks sold at about 20
to 1.

"If the ISPs played
their role it would have a dramatic effect," Kennedy said, explaining that
research shows people fear having their Internet service disconnected.

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A spokesman for the UK body
which represents providers of Internet services said his members preferred self
regulation and warned that legislation could often be too rigid, but he said
they were still holding negotiations on the matter.

Away from the legal disputes,
the industry has seen encouraging signs from the growth of legal sales. Global
digital music sales were estimated to be approximately $2.9 billion in 2007, a
roughly 40 per cent increase on 2006, and single track downloads, the most
popular digital music format, grew by 53 per cent.

Digital sales now account for
an estimated 15 per cent of the global music market, up from 11 per cent in 2006
and zero in 2003. In the United States, online and mobile sales now account for
30 per cent of all revenues.

Via Times of India