That view was expressed by Francis Keeling, Universal Music Groupâ€™s global head of digital business, after the media briefing for the new IFPI Digital Music Report 2013 on 26 February.
Although Italy is among the few countries where local repertoire thrived last year (80% of 2012â€™s Top 10 selling albums in Italy, Spain and Sweden were by local acts), the country was not among the fastest growing 2012. Those happened to be Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Sweden.
In addition to Italyâ€™s high music piracy and low consumer spend, thanks to the countryâ€™s austerity programme to reduce its economic deficit, "many are still reluctant to use credit cards", Keeling said.
He is backed by the Bank of Italy and the Italian Banking Association, which want to reduce Italyâ€™s entrenched cash culture. Figures published by the two institutions indicate credit-card usage is less than 50% of the European Unionâ€™s average usage rate. Italians make an average of 26 credit-card transactions a year compared to the 125 annual transactions in the UK.
Keeling advised legitimate international digital-music services to localise not only content, but also the ancillary services such as the monetisation methods.
"They should consider advertising-funding, gift cards or mobile-phone billing as alternatives", Keeling added. "Too many services look at Italy or Spain and think what works in one market would work there too. But you need local expertise to provide what the local music fans want".