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Monday, 26 February, 2001, 13:59 GMT
Napster blamed for CD singles slump
Shawn Fanning and Hank Barry
Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Hank Barry
CD single sales plummeted last year in the US and record industry officials say the figures prove that Napster, the Internet music-sharing service, has harmed their business.

Sales of compact discs singles fell by 39% last year according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

"Napster hurt record sales," said RIAA president Hilary Rosen.


In order to argue we've done irreparable harm, it would be great if there were some irreparable harm to show

Hank Barry, Napster
Napster is the massively popular California website that lets users pass music files easily over the web.

Credible

The site was told to stop trading in copyright material by a California court earlier in the month.

Napster offered to settle the copyright infringement lawsuit by paying record companies $1bn (687m), but this was greeted without much enthusiasm.

Now Napster chief executive Hank Barry says the record industry is manipulating the data to say what it wants it to say.

"In order to argue we've done irreparable harm, it would be great if there were some irreparable harm to show," he said.

"We haven't seen a credible survey yet that suggests Napster is hurting CD sales."

PC users
Napster has been hugely popular with consumers
Some experts say the drop of CD singles as being part of an industry-wide slump, due to economic factors and a weak year musically.

Culprit

"To be honest, it wasn't a great music year," said Andreas Schmidt, chief of the e-commerce group at Bertelsmann, which has a stake in Napster.

"There were some isolated events, but we didn't put that much good stuff out."

Roy Lott, president of EMI Group's Capitol label, admitted that singles used to be a mainstay of the industry in the 50s and 60s and they have now fallen out of favour as a tool to inflate sales figures and influence radio programming.

But he added even so that Napster was a "prime culprit" for the drop in sales.


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See also:

24 Feb 01 | Business
Napster clones under threat
23 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms rival Napster
21 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms dismiss Napster deal
21 Feb 01 | Americas
Napster seeks $1bn record deal
13 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Napster: A musician's view
13 Feb 01 | Business
The man behind Napster
13 Feb 01 | Americas
Musicians celebrate Napster ruling
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