Global downloads, regional restrictions

Three times as much cash was made from paid-for MP3 downloads in the first half of 2005, compared to 2004. However, users in the Middle East are still very much limited to which download sites they can buy from.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  October 4, 2005

Three times as much cash was made from paid-for MP3 downloads in the first half of 2005, compared to 2004. However, users in the Middle East are still very much limited to which download sites they can actually buy from. According to the latest figures from The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), during the first six months of this year digital music sale revenues tripled, with an estimated 6% of industry sales coming from digital (worth $790m in total). Revenue from sales of physical music formats such as CDs fell by 6.3% globally during this time (and the overall music market dropped less, by 1.9%). The IFPI asserts that this sales surge is being driven by the increased use of broadband, 3G mobile phones and portable music players such as iPods. Although the IFPI has not come up with a regional breakdown of its figures, it seems unlikely that a large proportion of digital download revenue was derived from the Middle East, as songs from the ‘big name’ download sites are unavailable to users here. Sites such as the now-legal Napster, Virgin Music, iTunes and more are accessible from around the world, but only actually accept online payments for downloads from US and European territories. As Windows Middle East discovered, the availability of digital songs to buy in the Middle East is limited, with www.emusic.com and www.mp3musiclive.com being two of the biggest such sites.

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