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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 11:10 GMT
Recorded music sales continue dip
Apple's iPod
A rise in online music revenues has not halted an overall fall in sales
Sales of recorded music continued to fall worldwide in 2005, according to the industry's global body.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said the fall continued despite a rise in online and mobile music store revenues.

Chairman John Kennedy said global music retail revenues fell about 2% last year and in 2004 remained flat at $33.6bn (18.9bn), amid a four-year slide.

Record company bosses are meeting at the Midem conference in Cannes, France.

The event, which is taking place this week, has seen registration from 9,500 participants from 92 countries and is the music industry's largest European gathering.

Figures for the new downturn are based on data from three-quarters of the global market.

Twenty years ago there were no mobile phones, no DVDs, no computer games to speak of
Eric Nicoli

The overall sales decline came despite a threefold increase in digital music revenue, while illegal file-sharing volumes changed little, according to a separate IFPI market report published on Thursday.

And the body believes sales will remain broadly unchanged in 2006.

Executives are now having to look beyond piracy to explain the latest decline in revenues, which have fallen by around 20% globally since 1999.

EMI chairman Eric Nicoli said: "Piracy in all its forms has been the major factor in this reversal but not the only factor."

Speaking at the MidemNet music technology forum, which preceded the main event, Mr Nicoli also cited tougher competition from other categories of consumer goods.

He said: "Twenty years ago there were no mobile phones, no DVDs, no computer games to speak of.

Piracy decline

"In categories that did exist, like magazines, cosmetics and designer clothes, we've seen a massive explosion of choice and accessibility to consumers. So no surprise, then, that music sales have come under pressure."

A number of record companies are also pressing Apple to allow more pricing flexibility on its iTunes Music Store, which currently charges the same rate for any song downloaded.

They have argued, so far without success, that they should be able to charge more for the most sought-after hits.

Apple's iTunes accounts for around 70% of US and British online music sales and has significant shares of its 19 other markets.

This popularity is widely credited with halting the growth of piracy, but record companies complain that the cost to them has been a loss of control over their own pricing and marketing.

Digital music revenue 'triples'
03 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
UK 'world's biggest music buyer'
22 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
US sees growth in CD sales market
06 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Music piracy 'does hit CD sales'
09 Nov 04 |  Entertainment
CDs 'will dominate music market'
28 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
Pirate CD sales hit record high
22 Jul 04 |  Entertainment

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