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ARIA Reports Disappointing Music Sales For 2005

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —

The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) reported wholesale recorded music sales for Australian distributors for the half year to June 30, 2005. Somewhat disappointingly, the overall market in Australia fell in both value and volume, compared to the same period in 2004 . In total, the volume of recorded music product shipments fell 7 .54% to 22 .7 million units, while wholesale value fell 11.82% to $209 million .

The reduction in sales has generally been felt across all format types including, for the first time, the music DVD format . This decline in music DVDs can be attributed, at least in part, to market maturity and near-total DVD player penetration .

Sales in January and February were also abnormally, but understandably, low with charitable appeals following the Boxing Day Tsunami absorbing significant amounts of discretionary spending . In addition, subdued activity was widely reported in most retail sectors (not just music) during the first six months of the year.

While CD albums suffered a downturn in both volume and value during the period, it is anticipated that the strong release schedule for the remainder of 2005 will boost album sales. The full year results will be buoyed by album releases from Australian acts such as End of Fashion, Spiderbait, Alex Lloyd, Amiel, Bodyjar, Sarah McLeod, John Farnham, Shannon Noll, Wolfmother and Pete Murray as well as international acts including Ashlee Simpson, Madonna, Robbie Williams, Franz Ferdinand, Blink 182, Jessica Simpson, Il Divo, Shakira, Outkast and Pink. Already in the second half of the year, there have been strong sales performances from releases by James Blunt, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Gorillaz and Coldplay.

The first half figures do not include digital music sales, including emerging sales of 'mastertone' ringtones. To date, comprehensive information regarding the value and volume of the digital music market has not been available to ARIA . Initial reports suggest that this sector of the market is still relatively small. ARIA is working with its members to ensure that it will be able to report digital sales in the 2005 full year results, due for release in March 2006.

The first half figures also do not include imported product sold directly to retailers. Taking into consideration the sustained high value of the Australian dollar this year, imports are likely to have increased over the period.

The results for the first half have, however, once again underlined the ongoing succes of Australian artists. Sales of singles by local artists have grown to represent 25% of volume in the Top 100 singles for the period, up from 21% last ear. In total 32 Australian titles appear in the Top 100 singles for the first half of the year, including two entries each by Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins, Anthony Callea, Casey Donovan and Tammin.

In addition, Australian artists as varied as Evermore, Ben Lee, Anthony Callea, Thirsty Merc, The Cat Empire, Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham and Keith Urban have also attained platinum and multi-platinum ARIA Accreditations during the period. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner