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Australian Music Sales Down Nearly Nine Percent in 2004

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire)-

The recorded music sales figures for the six months to June 30 2004 show a

decline in the overall Australian market when compared to the six month period ending June 30 2003. The overall market value is down 8.7% with DVD growth unable to compensate for the 10.4% value decline on albums and the 8.4% value decline on singles. In previous years, DVD growth has compensated for any weakening in the audio market.

On a positive note, sales of first release titles (as indicated by ARIAnet Top 100 Album sales) were up 14% in the first half. The decline in the overall audio album market can be attributed therefore to a slower moving back catalogue, largely a result of the growing DVD format and retail space being allocated to both music and movie DVDs.

The market however, has been buoyed somewhat by impressive results this year by Australian repertoire. Following the enormous success of this month's ARIA No.1 Chart Awards, it is no surprise that local acts continue to perform strongly on the charts. Local repertoire has grown from 18% to 27% of wholesale sales value (when compared to the same 6 month period last year), which is also in excess of the 26% share reported for the full year to December 2003.

Singles sales have continued to decline, although the rate of decline appears to have slowed considerably, with half year results showing only a slight 1.8% volume decline, compared to a 17% decline at the corresponding time last year.

Continuing trends from 2003, the audio visual market enjoyed and exceptional 27.4% increase in volume as the market expands its range and DVD hardware penetration grows. This growth was mitigated however, by a 21.1% reduction in average pricing as lower priced DVDs have been introduced to the market.

Some key conclusions from the sales figures include:

** Record companies shipped over 24.5 million audio and music video/DVD units, a decrease of approximately 4.5% on the same period last year;

** Australian repertoire represented 31% of the total ARIA Top 100 album units, up from 15% in the 2003 first half. And 21% of the total ARIA Top 100 Single units were by Australian repertoire, up from 18% in the last year's first half; and

** Four local acts have been included in the Top 6 ARIAnet Albums (by volume) and 9 of the top 25 for the first half of 2004. Last year there were only 3 local acts in the top 25.

1. Shannon Noll That's What I'm Talking About

2. Pete Murray Feeler

5. Jet Get Born

6. John Butler Trio Sunrise Over Sea

12. Delta Goodrem Innocent Eyes

18. Guy Sebastian Just As I Am

20. Powderfinger Vulture Street

22. Kasey Chambers Wayward Angel (only 4 weeks sales to June 30 2004)

It is important to note that these half year figures are not necessarily indicative of the likely full year result. Despite the decline in the overall size of the market when compared to the first six months of 2003, the industry continues to be cautiously optimistic about the remainder of 2004. Numerous titles, both Australian and international, are scheduled for release in the second half of 2004. Of course, the market continues to be impacted by ongoing challenges, including:

** competition from new digital technologies;

**the adverse impact of CD;

**burning and Internet based piracy: and

**competing entertainment products including movie DVDs and console games.

–Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen