Brandon FlowersAs the world celebrates 10 years of iTunes, one leading analysis firm has said that digital music channels could help artists capitalise on lucrative new markets.

A decade ago, the music world was reeling from the effects of Napster, the file-sharing website which was shut down amid growing legal battles. Apple’s iTunes service provided a solid income stream for labels and a user-friendly experience for consumers.

It is now the world’s biggest music retailer and has spawned a host of rivals, with the way we consume digital media being wholly rewritten.

Data from the first Digital Music Index (DMI), published last September by Musicmetric, the London and LA-based trend analysis firm, showed that where retailers like iTunes and legal music streaming services like Spotify were available, piracy was reduced.

Figures from the DMI, the most expansive report on file-sharing and digital music consumption ever produced, also highlighted the growth of emerging music fan bases in countries like Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines.

As internet connection speeds increase around the world, millions will have instant access to any song they desire. This means massive new markets will open up for artists who, once upon a time, would have been limited to a domestic market.

Gregory Mead, CEO of Semetric, which owns Musicmetric, said: “There’s no doubt that iTunes changed the game not just for music, but for retailing films, books and apps. It caught the crest of a wave just as the music industry sought a solution to the growing issue of file-sharing.

“Our data shows that piracy is still a major problem with billions of songs shared each year. But the good news is that retailers like iTunes and 7Digital along with streaming services like Spotify and Deezer can help reduce piracy.

“Streaming is becoming increasing popular but we don’t see it eating into sales. What it does do is prove that demand for music continues to grow and having more ways to market your product can only be a positive thing.”

[Pictured: Brandon Flowers of The Killers]

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