Part I: Digitization of content: a comparative analysis of growth trends in the music, film and television industries.

This post consists of two parts. Both parts examine the impact of digitization on the entertainment industry. The first part analyzes the growth patterns of the music industry (international as well as domestic). The second part analyzes the growth trends of the international and domestic, film and television industry. The conclusion seeks to show that inspite of digitization the entertainment industry is doing well in terms of output, revenues and creativity.

Across the globe policy makers are coming to terms with digitization of content and are beginning to realize that a digital copyright reform is a necessity and no longer an option. This realization stems from the recent proliferation of digital content and the tremendous socio-economic benefits associated with such a trend. Digitization of creative industries has lead to increased competitiveness, job creation and economic growth. This is evidenced by studies that note (here) – “The cost of non-digital Europe is significant: according to a recent study, the EU could gain 4% GDP by stimulating the fast development of the digital single market by 2020. This corresponds to a gain of almost EUR 500 billion and means that the digital single market alone could have an impact similar to the 1992 internal market program.”

Statistics collected by the report ‘The Sky is Rising’[1] (hereinafter ‘the report’) show a marked increase in music, books, video and video game sales and output in countries like the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain  and Russia, inspite of digitization of content. These statistics buttress the premise that digitization has lead not only to economic growth of the entertainment industry but also increased creativity and diversity within this industry.

Growth trends of the Music Industry: comparative analysis  

The report showed that contrary to common assumptions, the music industry is not dying or waning due to digitization. As evidenced in the report, music production is at an all time high- “Globally, the media metadata service Gracenote has indexed over 130 million music tracks, and over the years, it has been adding about 10-15 million songs to its database in a remarkably consistent manner, year after year.”[2]

Not only is music produced by famous recording labels and professional artists increasing but also music produced by amateur artists.[3]This was evidenced by a simple search on YouTube for ‘cover song’ which produced tens of thousands of results.[4]This goes to show that diversity in music is on a rise thus leading to more creative output. Also, as pointed out in the report, diversity is increasing not only with an increase in number of amateur artists but also increasing with regard to the creation of new genres of music. [5]Such diversity, therefore, presents an opportunity to the music industry to tap into the growing talent and take advantage of this diverse market.

Music production in India is also rapidly increasing. Amateur artists in India are fast growing and a similar, but more specific YouTube search for ‘cover song Indians’ produces 21,000 results, ‘cover songs Hindi’ produces around 50,000 results, are only indicative of the potential and diversity the Indian music industry has at its disposal. Given that India has several regional languages, has a Bollywood, a Sandalwood, a Kollywood and a Tollywood!, the number of amateur artists simply making cover songs is obviously enormous. Moreover, shows like the ‘Indian Idol’ promote amateur singers showing thereby that more yet-to-be-famous singers are getting publicity via non-traditional media outlets. The various ways new technologies and methods allow exposure of talent is important for any music industry and as the report points out, completely excluding this increasing pool of talent (no matter how untalented they may be in the “deep end”) would miss out on where the music industry is going and how it may spread in the future.[6]

With regard to music revenues, it has been reported that “globally, the recorded music industry is transitioning to selling more digital music (rather than physical media), and the revenues from digital songs are starting to match up to the revenues from physical media sales”.[7]

The table, using statistics from the report,[8] shows that digital music revenues of US, Italy and France have risen drastically, however, Russia’s and Spain’s have not –

Digital Music Revenues






$190 million (2004)

$3.5 billion


215 million

275 million

27% increase


42 million

49 million

16% increase






73 million

43 million

41% decrease

In the UK, digital music revenues have recently surpassed physical media revenues and UK song writers are earning more from digital royalties (increase of 3.2% in 2011).[9]Digital music sales are also fast growing in Germany, up over 21% in 2011.[10]

The decline in revenues in Russia has been attributed to various suspected factors like piracy and file sharing, decline in ringtone royalties with the emergence of smart phones and the scarcity of legal digital music services.[11]However, there is no evidence of a decrease in demand for music and some attribute this decline to be part of a temporary business cycle phenomenon.[12]Though similar factors could have affected and lead to a decline in Indian digital music sales, numbers show that Indian digital music sales have actually increased. 

As reported, according to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report, 2012, sales of physical music of the Indian music industry decreased by 19 per % year-on-year but this was compensated by a significant increase of 24 % year-on-year sales in digital music. It was also noted that “interestingly 90 per cent of the total digital music sales have come from the mobile segment”. This could be attributed to the scarcity of internet music services in India. With the emergence of more such platforms, Indians believe that they will be able to explore new genres of music and increase demand for non-film genres (here). The FICCI-KPMG report also estimated that the Indian music industry would grow at CARG 17% to Rs. 18.66 billion by 2015, with digital music acting as the key growth driver.

With regard to digital music sales through mobile phones, areport stated that Kolaveri Di made it to Airtel’s 2011 top-sellers as it was downloaded 210,000 times within 18 months of launch. This report also stated that a survey among 170 million mobile customers of Airtel revealed 150 million music mobile music downloads last year. These are statistics of just one telecom player in India!

Moreover, another report in 2011, recorded that the ratio between digital music sales and physical sales is now around 70:30 and is heading towards 80:20. However, this report also states that since audio launches through CD’s help procedures publicize their films and that some users value tangible ownership of CD (though this is fast changing), physical copies continue to be preferred by regional music industries. 

[1] Michael Masnick Michael Ho, The Sky is Rising (Regional Study), CCIA Floor 64.

[2] Id., at p. 2 (Music production)

[3] Id. at p. 4.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7]Id., at p. 5 (Music revenues).

[8] Id. at p. 6.


[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.


Aparajita Lath

Aparajita graduated from the WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. She was formerly an editor of the NUJS Law Review. She is a lawyer based in Bangalore. All views expressed by her on the blog are her personal views.

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