music industry-2012 tally

SEOUL, April 2 (Yonhap) -- The global market size of music albums advanced last year, helped by increased sales in digital albums, data showed Tuesday, casting brighter outlooks over South Korean entertainment firms.

The market size of the music album industry reached US$16.5 billion last year, up 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). It marked the first growth in 13 years.

The turnaround came as the sales of digital albums jumped 9.8 percent on-year in 2012 to $5.6 billion, compared to $5.1 billion tallied a year earlier, accounting for 33.9 percent of the music industry's total sales, the IFPI data showed.

Market watchers said the rising demand for digital albums in the global market is anticipated to help South Korea's entertainment firms rake in profits amid the increasing popularity of their content in Asia and other parts of the world.

S.M. Entertainment Co., the country's top agency, is expected to see its net earnings jump 68 percent in 2013 from a year earlier on the back of the rising global demand in digital music content, industry data showed.

Net profits of YG Entertainment Inc. are also expected to surge 29.4 percent over the cited period, helped by its singer Psy, who became a global star riding on his global hit "Gangnam Style."

Meanwhile, the portion of South Korean Internet users aged 16-64 who listened to digital music content legally came to 70 percent, hovering above the global average of 62 percent, separate data released in February by market researcher Ipsos showed.

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