2012 belonged to Carly Rae Jepsen, whose single Call Me Maybe topped sales worldwide. Photo: Getty Images
The music industry announced Tuesday the first lift in global sales since 1999, suggesting that the long-awaited fightback against the digital revolution has begun.
It also meant Grammy-winner Gotye's Somebody I Used To Know blitzed YouTube sensation Gangnam Style in sales across the globe, coming second only to Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe.
Sales rose 0.3 percent to $16.5 billion in 2012, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents some 1,400 record companies worldwide.
Bigger than Psy ... Gotye second in sales for the year with Somebody That I Used to Know. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
The growth may be modest, but for an industry that appeared to be in terminal decline as it also battled against rampant Internet piracy, it was almost cause to break into song.
"It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air," said Frances Moore, chief executive of the London-based IFPI.
"These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade.
Psy had to console himself with third place, plus a billion YouTube hits and being a global phenomenon with Gangnam Style. Photo: Reuters
"They show how the music industry has adapted to the Internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers and monetised the digital marketplace."
The IFPI said paid-for digital music downloads from sites such as Apple's iTunes, along with other new sources of revenue, had finally grown enough to compensate for the decline of CD sales.
Digital revenues grew by nine percent in 2012, the organisation said, bringing their share of total industry revenues to 34 percent.
Across the world, 4.3 billion songs and albums were downloaded in 2012.
The IFPI also said subscription-based Internet music services such as Spotify and Rhapsody had leapt 44 percent last year, giving them 20 million users worldwide.
Some subscription services allow users to listen to songs for free with adverts played every few minutes, while others provide advertising-free music for a monthly fee.
But the IFPI admitted that the industry still faces "major hurdles" in adjusting to the Internet age.
"Our markets remain rigged by illegal free music," said Moore.
"This is a problem where governments have a critical role to play, in particular by requiring more cooperation from advertisers, search engines, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and other intermediaries."
The IFPI figures revealed that Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen topped the global singles chart for 2012 with her single Call Me Maybe, followed by Gotye's Somebody I Used To Know.
South Korean sensation Psy came third with Gangnam Style, which made history in December when it became the first YouTube video to be viewed a billion times.
British soul diva Adele's album 21, meanwhile, became the first record to top the global album sales chart for a second year running.
Taylor Swift's Red was the next best-selling album for the year, selling 5.2 million copies, while One Direction's global appeal was also reflected in the figures which show the boyband, put together on the X Factor in 2010, sold almost nine million albums.
Their debut Up All Night sold 4.5 million, while its follow-up Take Me Home has racked up sales of 4.4 million.
The IFPI report shows revenues rose by around 0.3 per cent to $US16.5 billion ($A16.12 billion) in 2012 with digital sales accounting for around a third of the revenue.
"It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air," chief executive Frances Moore said.
"These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade. They show how the music industry has adapted to the internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers and monetised the digital marketplace."
Worldwide Single Sales for 2012, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry:
- Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe - 12.5m
- Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know - 11.8m
- PSY, Gangnam Style - 9.7m
- fun., We Are Young - 9.6m
- Maroon 5, Payphone - 9.1m
- Michel Telo, Ai Se Eu Te Pego - 7.2m
- Nicki Minaj, Starships - 7.2m
- Maroon 5, One More Night - 6.9m
- Flo Rida, Whistle - 6.6m
- Flo Rida, Wild Ones - 6.5m
Worldwide Album Sales for 2012:
- Adele, 21 - 8.3m
- Taylor Swift, Red - 5.2m
- One Direction, Up All Night - 4.5m
- One Direction, Take Me Home - 4.4m
- Lana Del Rey, Born To Die - 3.4m
- P!nk, The Truth About Love - 2.6m
- Rod Stewart, Rod Stewart - 2.6m
- Rihanna, Unapologetic - 2.3m
- Mumford & Sons, Babel - 2.3m
- Maroon 5, Overexposed - 2.2m