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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Fall in music sales 'speeding up'
Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake is a big album seller of 2003 so far
The decline of the world music industry is accelerating according to figures on global sales of recorded music.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) says sales fell by 10.9% in the first half of 2003, but by just 7.1% in 2002.

The body blames the fall on commercial piracy and unauthorised internet music sharing.

In Germany, Japan and the US, illegal downloads are now matching or exceeding commercial sales, IFPI reports.

DVD sales up

Britain does not appear to be suffering so badly as album sales there were slightly up.

The IFPI also said there was a marked increase in the availability of legitimate online music, with 300,000 tracks now on offer.

Its report showed interim sales of all audio and music video formats were worth $12.7bn (7.6bn), compared to $14.2bn (8.5bn) in the same period of 2002.

DVD music videos showed substantial growth (up 46%) and value of sales (up 55%), and now represents more than 5% of global music sales.

Interim sales usually account for around 40% of the annual figures, with the remaining 60% coming in the busier second half of the year.

Testing times

The global music industry is facing its most testing times since sound was first recorded for sale to consumers.

But while sales and profits may be down, the music industry is still a global force with profits at the third highest level of all time.

Earlier this month the US music industry started legal action against hundreds of people accused of sharing music files without permission online.

More than a billion unlicensed files are available to users at any one time, depriving the industry of millions in revenue.

Critics argue that the industry is moving too slowly to take advantage of the internet and users are simply taking control of their music needs.

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