U.S. Album Sales Down 17% In 1st Quarter
April 6, 2007 at 5:46 AM (PT)
U.S. album sales fell 17% in the first quarter as rising online piracy and fewer new hits accelerated the music industry's decline, reports BLOOMBERG NEWS.
Retailers sold 117.1 million albums in the three months that ended APRIL 1. Although online purchases rose, they failed to make up for rising piracy and declining demand for compact discs. Album sales fell 4.9% last year after a 7.3% drop in 2005. Researcher NPD GROUP INC. said last month that illegal downloads of music surged 47% in 2006.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP previously warned investors that first-quarter sales would be worse than a year earlier because new releases were stronger in 2006.
To combat piracy, the industry has stepped up a campus crackdown, alerting colleges to students and employees who use school computer networks to illegally swap songs.
Among the U.S. market leaders, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT was second behind UNIVERSAL, with 26% of new albums sold. Last year UNIVERSAL had a 34% share and SONY BMG was at 27%. The two major record companies with rising market share were WMG, which increased to 18% from 17% a year earlier, and EMI GROUP, which climbed to 12% from 9.3%.