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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Piracy blamed for CD slide
The much-pirated Eminem
Eminem has fallen victim to internet pirates
CD sales fell sharply in the US in the first six months of this year, while seizures of "pirated" discs rose, according to new industry figures.

American record industry bosses say the figures further cement their case that copied CDs and online file sharing are undermining legitimate sales.

There was a drop of 7% in CD shipments and a 69.9% rise in seizures, according to the figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).


Commercial disc piracy continues to harm the industry

Cary Sherman
RIAA
Last year CD shipments dropped 5.3%, and the RIAA also pointed to a survey which suggested internet users who download music buy fewer CDs.

They say this is hitting sales across the board as well as reducing the number of big-selling records.

At the same point in 2001, 37 releases had more than one million sales, but after six months of 2002, only 20 titles have sold more than one million copies.

In all, total US music shipments dropped 10.1% from 442.8 million units in the first half of 2001 to 398.1 million units in the first half of 2002.

Downturn effect

This meant sales dropped 6.7% in the US, from $5.93bn (3.89bn) in the first half of 2001 to $5.53bn (3.63bn) in the first half of 2002.

Record company bosses are adamant this drop can be explained by music "piracy", despite the correlation with the downturn in America.

Researchers interviewed 860 internet-connected music consumers and found that 41% of those who said they downloaded more music revealed they were buying less.

Compact discs
Many are unwilling to pay 15 for a CD
File sharing sites have argued the downloading of music could help boost sales, but only 19% of those questioned said they were downloading more and buying more music.

RIAA president Cary Sherman said that illegal music downloading was the main culprit in the drop in sales.

"Cumulatively, this data should dispel any notion that illegal file sharing helps the music industry," he said.

"In fact, there are numerous red flags and warning bells that illustrate conclusively the harmful impact of illegal downloading on today's music industry.

"This industry must continue to combat piracy in new and innovative ways - commercial disc piracy continues to harm the industry."

The survey found more than a third of young internet-connected music buyers said the first thing they do after hearing a song they like by an unfamiliar artist was to download the song for free from a file sharing service.

But only 10% of those questioned would go out and buy the album instead.

See also:

27 Aug 02 | Entertainment
26 Aug 02 | Business
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16 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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