CD sales up, says RIAA

By Jon Newton 10/26/04

"Piracy, both online and on the street, continues to hit the music community hard, and thousands have lost their jobs because of it," RIAA chairman and ceo Mitch Bainwol claims.

The jobless thousands notwithstanding, the music industry is doing very well in the first half of 2004 with full-length CD shipments to retail outlets increasing by 10.2% compared to the same time period in 2003, says the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

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"It is the first time in five years that the first half of the year has experienced an overall increase in shipments of all formats combined. DVD music videos and licensed digital downloads also showed impressive growth," says the music industry enforcer, giving the lie to its own claims that its owners, the members of the Big Four record label cartel, are being ruined by file sharing

"Overall, CDs and all other audio and video music products shipped to retail increased by 8.5 percent in the first six months of 2004 (289 million units were shipped in the first half of 2004 vs. 267 million in the first half of 2003), while the dollar value of those shipments increased 4.5 percent.

"When including direct and special markets, the overall percentage growth for the first half of 2004 for units shipped, compared to a similar time frame in 2003, is 4.0 percent (349 million units versus 336 million). The overall dollar value increase for all units shipped was 3.6 percent."

DVD videos grew 101%, up to 11.2 million units in the first half of 2004 compared to 5.6 million last year, and a 54% increase in value compared to the year prior. The overall music video marketplace, when including tapes and DVDs shipped to retail as well as direct and special markets, grew by 91.6% (12 million units vs. 6.3 million).

However, "the industry's top-selling albums, which are among the most heavily pirated, remained significantly down as compared to 2001."

Not to worry, though.

During the first half of 2004, record companies continued to develop "innovative business strategies - aggressively making music available" to "authorized" digital services, introducing new formats and offering an array of exciting new releases, declares the RIAA, and, "The foundation for success is in place," says Bainwol.

"Continued growth requires innovative business models, aggressively making music available to legitimate digital services, public education, appropriate legislation and a strong measure of deterrence. We still have our work cut out for us, but the encouraging news behind these numbers confirms we are on the right track."

Indeed, with the US congress, Department of Justice and FBI in its bottomless pockets, how can Big Music go wrong?

Watch this space to find out ....

Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

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