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Global music sales go sour

French market grows, others decline as piracy takes toll

LONDON — World sales of recorded music fell 9.2% in value and 11.2% in units in the first half of 2002 as home piracy continues to spiral, music trade body the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Monday.

Piracy cost the industry $4.3 billion worldwide last year, and with availability of pirated music on the Internet and increased file sharing, downloading and CD burning by consumers, the problem continues to hit sales.

CD album sales worldwide were down 7%, while tape cassettes continued a long-term decline, falling by 31%. Singles sales dropped 17%.

Music sales in the U.S. dropped 7% in value and 8.8% in units. CD sales fell 7.2% and singles sales continued to fall, now totaling just over 4 million units. Europe continues to show a mixed picture, but most markets fell. Overall sales dropped by 7.5% in value and 7.4% in units.

The U.K. saw total unit sales drop 5.1%, with CD album sales falling 2.4 million to 85.6 million from the same period last year. These developments were attributed to the summer’s World Cup soccer tournament, fewer major releases and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The French market, however, continues to grow. Sales increased by 5.2% in value and 3.6% in volume, driven by successful local repertoire. France has now displaced Germany as the world’s fourth-largest market.

Asia’s music market declined 15.6% in value and 20.4% in units. Cassettes fell most sharply — down 30.2%, with a 13% drop in CD albums and an 8.7% fall in singles.

Japan, by far the largest market in the region, fell by 14.2% and 13.8% in value and units, respectively. All other markets declined except Singapore, where sales increased by 5.7% in value and 3.8% in units, mainly driven by the success of regional acts.

Latin America continued to suffer due to piracy as well as continued economic difficulty. Sales in the region fell by 14.1% in value and 9.2% in units.

Sales in the first six months typically make up around 40% of total sales for the full calendar year, according to IFPI.

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