LONDON, 15 September 2017 - The Entertainment Retailer's Association (ERA) has announced that its membership has reached an all-time-high, driven by the growth of digital services such as Spotify, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Sky Store and Deezer and the renaissance of independent record stores.
At its annual general meeting in London today (14 September), ERA CEO Kim Bayley revealed that in 2016 the association's membership reached 241 companies, the highest in its 29 year history. With more digital services than ever, she noted that the number of physical entertainment outlets has also doubled since 2012 with over 16,500 retail outlets now selling music, video and games in the UK.
ERA membership is now 75% higher than the low point of 2008 after the rise of internet and digital piracy laid waste to the sector and led to the closure of well-known High Street names like Woolworths, Virgin and Tower and hundreds of independents.
"Far from sounding the death-knell for entertainment retailing, the rise of digital has created a bigger, more successful and more diverse ERA," said Bayley.
"To all of those people who declared that the internet somehow spelled the end for retailing, we can say they were comprehensively wrong.
"The fashionable word a few years ago to describe this process was "disintermediation". The idea was that content owners would go direct to consumers, they would cut out the middleman and the retail sector would effectively disappear.
"It didn't happen. Instead the retail sector innovated, evolved and has become more important than ever."
ERA members still account for between 90% and 95% of the physical markets for music video and games, but also represent around 90% of the music streaming market and approaching 50% of the digital markets in video.