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 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 12:32 GMT
Eminem cheers troubled Vivendi
Promo for Eminem's
Eminem has made Universal a hit
Troubled media giant Vivendi Universal finally has something to smile about after it sold more CDs than any of its competitors and increased its market share last year.

Eminem's latest album helped Universal grab 28.8% of the US market, the biggest in the world, according to Nielsen Sound Scan.

Market share 2002
Universal 29%
Warner 15.9%
Sony 15.7%
BMG 14.8%
EMI 8.4%
Independent labels 16.2%
Overall, sales of CDs slumped 9.3% to 624.2 million units, the second consecutive year-on-year fall after a 2.8% decline in 2001.

The major labels blame the sluggish economy and free downloading on the internet through services such as Kazaa for the weak sales.

Vivendi's Universal Music Group saw its market share rise to 29% from 26%.

Vivendi Universal assets, including Universal Studios and Universal Music, have been the subject of sell-off rumours in the past months.

Franco-American Vivendi has been disposing of assets to reduce its 19bn euros (12.4bn; $19.7bn) of debt.

The company's share price fell 74.2% last year and it is being investigated by financial regulators in France and the US.

Country music

Universal's Detroit-based rapper-turned-actor sold 7.6 million copies of his latest album, 'The Eminem Show' making it the biggest seller of 2002.

The label dominated the top of the charts, with rapper Nelly's 'Nellyville' coming in second with 4.9 million units sold.

Eminem's '8 Mile' soundtrack was in fifth place, Ashanti's self-titled album in seventh, and Shania Twain's 'Up' in ninth, said Sound Scan.

Universal's music division accounts for about 19% of Vivendi's media-related revenues, the company said in November.

The semi-autobiographical movie '8 Mile', telling the story Eminem's life and produced by Universal Studios, shot to number one in the US box office in November and took more than $114m.

Despite the success of rap and hip hop, country music was the only style that increased sales last year, gaining 12% on 2001, Sound Scan said.

See also:

03 Jan 03 | Entertainment
27 Dec 02 | Entertainment
12 Dec 02 | Business
26 Nov 02 | Business
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