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Global music sales fell 3% in 2011

Compact disc

Global music sales fell by 3% last year to $16.2bn, according to music industry body IFPI, but that's the smallest decline since 2004.

CD sales, which account for two-thirds of global revenues, continued their decline with a drop of 9% during the year. That's an improvement over 2010's drop of 14%.

However, this was offset by a rise in digital sales of 8%, breaking through the $5bn barrier for the first time.

Digital growth was boosted by the expansion of iTunes, Spotify and Deezer and a surge in users accessing content through smartphones and tablets.

As a result the number of users paying to subscribe to a music service jumped 65% in 2011 to 13.4 million.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.