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World Music Sales Figures Down 11 Percent

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – World sales of recorded music fell by 10.9% in value and by 10.7% in units in the first half of 2003. Unauthorised file-sharing and commercial piracy were major factors in the decline. At the same time DVD music sales grew sharply and a there was a marked increase in the availability of legitimate online music, with 300,000 tracks now on offer online.

Interim sales of all audio and music video formats were worth $US 12.7 billion, compared to $US 14.2 billion in the same period of 2002. Within this figure DVD music video showed substantial growth in both units (up 46%) and value (up 55%), and now represents more than 5% of global music sales.

The figures were published by IFPI, the organisation representing the record industry worldwide. IFPI comprises a membership of more than 1500 record companies, including independents and majors, in over 70 countries.

The best selling albums in 2003 at the half-way point were Christina Aguilera 'Stripped', 50 Cent 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', Coldplay 'A Rush of Blood To The Head', Celine Dion 'One Heart' Evanescence 'Fallen', Norah Jones 'Come Away With Me', Avril Lavigne 'Let Go', Linkin Park 'Meteora', t.A.T.u. '200kmh In The Wrong Lane' and the Chicago OST.

The interim sales traditionally only account for around 40% of the annual figures with the remaining 60% of sales occurring in the busier second half of the year. Releases from major artists such as Beyonce, Blue, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Dido, Enrique Iglesias, Limp Bizkit, Kylie Minogue, Nickelback, Pink, REM and Sting are scheduled for the second half of the year.

Internet piracy in particular affected the world's major markets in the first half of 2003. Germany, Japan, France and the US suffered significant declines. Germany, Japan, the US and Canada have seen the numbers of unauthorised downloads of tracks and copied CDs reach, and in some cases exceed, the levels of legitimate track and CD album sales.

There has been growth in some markets. In Europe, Austria and Finland showed sales increases driven by successes with local repertoire. Sales in volume terms increased in Norway while in the UK album sales rose by 4% and singles in Spain enjoyed a great success. The Russian market rose in value due to continued transition from cassette to CD while Australia recovered due to very strong DVD video sales. In Asia, Hong Kong also experienced recovery aided by a surge in sales of compilation albums. There were also some positive signs in terms of genre sales. In the US, Latin Music sales underwent a revival in 2003, up 29%, and jazz sales increased 35%.

There has been an encouraging increase in the number of online music services offering record companies' repertoire legitimately. Europe, for example, now has more than 30 sites offering legitimate online music either by pay-per-download or subscription. Sales from these sites are expected to increase in the coming months.

Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said: "Despite some healthy signs that a legitimate online music business is now taking hold, the music industry continues to suffer from the unauthorised file-sharing and commercial piracy. We are responding to this decisively, however: on the physical piracy front, seizures of discs rose four-fold last year; on the internet piracy front, the US industry is leading a highly effective global public awareness drive on the legal risks of file-sharing; and on the new business front, a marked change in the landscape is visible as a number of legitimate online music sites take hold". –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen