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"Growth should pick up again in 2000 so long as the world economy holds together. But...piracy and illegal Web downloading may also start to have a noticeable effect."
—IFPI Chairman Jay Berman
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO IFPI
Global Music Sales Increased,
But Not By Much, In 1999
The United States, the worldwide music sales king, sang along to another year of robust demand in 1999, but rampant piracy in Latin America and weakness in the core Japanese market left only modest sales growth worldwide.

Global music sales rose 1.5% to $38.5 billion in constant dollar terms but remained unchanged in volume terms at 3.8 billion units, said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

"Growth should pick up again in 2000 so long as the world economy holds together. But the biggest threat will be from the explosion of piracy, and illegal Web downloading may also start to have a noticeable effect," IFPI Chairman Jay Berman told Reuters.

Despite predictions of doom and gloom in 1999, the world's largest market, the United States, put in a fifth year of growth with an 8% rise in the value of sales even though much-hyped online business generated only 2.4 percent of the total.

But in Japan—the world's second largest music market—a weak economy led to a 7% fall in value of sales while acute piracy hit Latin America, with Brazil taking the brunt.

Piracy also hit Europe in the form of illegal CD burning or copying, but Britain was saved by a revival of the single, the industry body said.

Despite the threat of illegal MP3 music downloading from the Internet, the CD spent another year replacing the cassette, with sales rising three percent to 2.4 billion units, so that CDs now account for 65%of all units sold.

Sales of cassettes, LPs and singles all fell, while the minidisc began to make its mark, with 1 million units sold worldwide; Britain accounting for half of the total.

"CD sales were pretty good in the face of substantial piracy problems. It's going to be difficult to build this industry if we don't do something about this fast," Berman said.

Online sales were still small, but Berman said it was the future for the industry.

Berman noted that the music industry had done particularly well in 1999 given there were no big-name international hits to speak of. "It always depends on the release schedule. In 1999 we didn't have the kind of crossover international artist like Celine Dion. Will we get that this year?" he asked no one in particular.

Stripping out the effect of the dollar, global music sales rose 0.7% to $38.5 billion. The U.S. took a hefty 40% slice of music sales while Japan made up 17%. Britain was in third place with 7.6%.

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