The compact disc has at least another five years as the most popular music format before online downloads chip away at its dominance, a new study said on Tuesday.
Technology consultancy Jupiter Research said in its annual report that in 2009 European music fans will buy 836 million euros ($1 billion) worth of music in the form of digital downloads and subscriptions to Internet radio services.
At that level, digital music revenues will account for roughly 8 percent of Europe's estimated 10.2 billion euro music market. The study does not take into account the surprisingly successful market for mobile phone ring tones.
The piracy-battered music industry is desperate to see industry-backed download services become a hit with consumers to derail the popularity of free file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and eDonkey.
But trying to predict growth in the nascent digital music sector has proved extremely difficult. Last month, Forrester Research published a much more bullish forecast that the Western European digital music market would be worth 3.5 billion euros -- or 30 percent of the overall European market -- by 2009. Jupiter disagreed.
"Although Europe's digital music market has finally begun to take off after a sluggish start, it will remain a relatively niche market," said Mark Mulligan, a Jupiter analyst.
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