The days of heady, over-the-top digital music sales projections disappeared long ago.
But when will this sector start making serious money?
One answer is never, at least in volumes substantial enough to support a recording industry in the classic sense. In fact, massive file-sharing volumes have steadily driven the price of recorded music towards zero, especially alongside sinking physical purchases.
On Tuesday, In-Stat offered a more optimistic assessment, one sprinkled with reasonable levels of caution. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based group predicted that global, top-line recording industry revenues would reach $37 billion by 2012. Of that total, In-Stat projected that 40 percent ($14.8 billion) would come from digital formats.
That represents a boost from a year-2007 estimate of $30.5 billion, and a digital contribution of 10 percent. Sounds reasonable enough, though plunging physical sales raise questions on the upward direction of the forecast. And whether mobile-based revenues will offer a life raft also remains speculative, though In-Stat predicted mobile-based, full-track revenues of $4.2 billion, measured globally.