URBAN ISLANDZ NEWS: The combined music sales in the Caribbean region saw an increase of 1.2 per cent to US$8.8 million in 2010 over 2009.

The increase in sales is mostly driven by a boast in the ringtone market, as more consumers are using smartphones.

According to data released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), digital music sales rose to US$4.2 million in 2010 or half of total sales up from 39 per cent in the previous year and only nine per cent in 2008. Physical CD sales, however, declined to roughly half of total sales in 2010 from a high of 89 per cent of total sales in 2008. Performance rights earning stood at US$400,000 in 2010 flat, year on year.

The annual report, entitled ‘Recording Industry in Numbers 2010,’ indicated that digital sales (which includes ringbacks and online singles) actually surpassed physical CD sales for the first time, at 49 to 48 per cent, respectively.

Interestingly, Bob Marley and the Wailers dominate the Jamaican ringtone market.

Global digital music sales increased six per cent to US$4.6 billion ($395 billion) in 2010, according to the Digital Music Report 2011, a separate report published in January by the IFPI. The report also indicated that despite piracy, sales increased.

The latest data from the IFPI shows a glimmer of hope for the recording industry which is plagued by online piracy.