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Global Music Sales Down 7.6%

LONDON (AP) _ Global sales of recorded music fell for a fourth consecutive year in 2003, according to figures released Monday by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

The industry body said sales of recorded music in both audio and video formats fell by 7.6 percent in value and by 6.6 percent in units, compared with 2002, and is now valued at $32 billion, on unit sales of 2.7 billion.

The market has declined by $6.2 billion since 1999, a fall of 16.3 percent at constant exchange rates.

The IFPI attributed the decline to three main factors: CD burning and illegal downloading; competition for consumer spending from DVDs and cell phones; and economic uncertainty, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

The IFPI said all three issues ``began to show signs of a turnaround in early 2004.''

The IFPI's data showed that Universal Music Group, a division of French entertainment company Vivendi Universal, has maintained its market-leading position, despite a fall in market share.

In 2003, Universal had a 23.5 percent share of the total market, compared with 25.4 percent in 2002.

Britain's EMI Group PLC claimed second spot, increasing its market share to 13.4 percent from 12.2 percent.

EMI took second place from Japanese entertainment and electronics giant Sony Corp., which saw its market share fall to 13.2 percent from 13.8 percent.

German media company Bertelsmann AG's BMG saw its share increase to 11.9 percent from 10.9 percent. BMG is merging with Sony's music operations in a deal the companies say will generate savings of around $350 million a year.

Warner Music Group, which is based in New York, increased its market share to 12.7 percent from 11.8 percent.

The remaining market share is taken up by independent labels. Their share fell to 25.3 percent in 2003 from 25.9 percent a year earlier.
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