Wider usage of smartphones in emerging markets like India and the expansion of local and overseas music services are expected to help global sales of digital music to touch $9 billion in 2014, a study says.
"The digital music market in 2012 has grown around 9 per cent on the previous year and is expected to top $9 billion worldwide at retail by 2014," according to a study by Mahindra Comviva, a provider of mobile value-added services, and Ovum Consulting.
Though growth of digital music sales has been somewhat tempered in developed markets such as Japan and South Korea, the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific and Latin America are expanding at a compounded annual growth rate of 15 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.
The Asia-Pacific market may touch $450 million, while Latin America is forecast to reach $200 million by 2014.
"The music industry is witnessing dynamic changes and consumption patterns are shifting, driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones. The future of digital music will be based on enhanced engagement, 360-degree music experience and addressing the needs of price-sensitive markets," Mahindra Comviva Head Digital Services Atul Madan said.
Localised and customised content will play a greater role in enticing consumers, he added.
According to the report, digital music's share of total recorded music sales topped 35 per cent globally in 2012 (up 2.5 percentage points on 2011).
Also, the devices used for listening, purchasing or downloading music have changed.
"Computer's share has dropped significantly by 14 percentage points with mobile and tablets together up 15 percentage points, emphasising the importance of mobile for reaching lean-back listeners," the report said.
In emerging markets, including India, China and Brazil, mobile phone and tablets together constituted 44 per cent of the devices, higher than the computer (40 per cent).
The mobile operator is in a prime position to drive and benefit from this growth, having a music audience, the report said.
"There is a huge opportunity for operators when it comes to offering personalised music packages and targeted music services that will help reduce churn, drive subscription and increase revenue," it added.