"All I can really see in the singles market is growth… most of it via illegal downloading."
——Peter Jamieson

CD SALES ON THE RISE

Sure, It’s All the Way Over in a Small European Country, But Have Some Faith
Here’s a sentence you haven’t seen in a couple of years: CD albums sales rose 5.6% last year. Sure, it’s just in Britain, but it’s a start.

According to figures released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), album shipments were up 4.9% by volume to 236 million and up 2.1% in value to £1.1 billion last year.

BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said: “This is an exceptional result considering the huge pressure the recorded music market is under worldwide, not to mention that we Europeans aren’t shocked by a nude breast, so there’s no free publicity from that to drive CD sales.”

The downside is that CD singles sales continued to drop, falling 30% in 2003 after dropping 11% in 2002. The reason given for that decline is the international boogeyman, file-sharing.

Said Jamieson: “All I can really see in the singles market is growth… most of it via illegal downloading. If we can transfer this theft to the new legitimate sites, we could see soon a return to the golden age of singles sales. For those of you under 40, people used to actually purchase single songs—and not on iTunes, either.”

On that note, BPI released its first-ever numbers on legal internet downloads, and UK digital consumers bought more than 150,000 downloads and streams in January. A third of those came in the week of Jan 18-24, when mycokemusic.com launched across the pond.

To put those numbers in perspective, according to British publication The Register, download sales were larger in volume than vinyl, cassette and DVD singles in January.

The BPI said that in the UK, 62 per cent of albums now sell for £9.99 ($18.56) or less.

Now back to your regularly scheduled American news.

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