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CD burning, downloading, consumer spending in other entertainment sectors and economic uncertainty all have contributed to the decline.

IFPI RELEASES 2003 GLOBAL MARKETSHARE NUMBERS

UMG Still Rules, of Course, but EMI, BMG, WMG See Gains

In global marketshare figures for 2003 released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Monday, Universal Music Group surprises no one by continuing to lead the pack of major label groups, now shrunk from five to four.

UMG's global marketshare slippage to 23.5% from 25.4% in 2002, however—a difference of nearly two points—was a bit more of an eyebrow-lifter. In 2003, UMG reportedly saw declines in its business in all territories except Japan.

UMG is still a healthy 10 points ahead of the #2 group, EMI, which moved ahead of Sony on a 1.1-point increase to 13.4% from 12.2% in 2002, thanks to gains in North America, Asia and Australasia.

Sony's share fell slightly to 13.2% from 13.8% last year. Declines in most of the world were cushioned somewhat by increased business in Latin America.

BMG took fourth, upping its global share a whole point to 11.9% from 10.9%, while Warner Music Group brings up the rear with a 12.7% share, up from 11.8% in 2002.

Looking at this picture with our post-merger goggles on, if Sony BMG were merged in 2003, they would be the #1 music group, boasting 25.1% of the global market, ahead of UMG by 1.6 points.

The IFPI says recorded-music sales were down for a fourth year in 2003, falling 7.6% in value and 6.6% in untis from 2002 levels. 2003 sales were valued at $32 billion on volume of 2.7 billion units.

According to IFPI figures, the global recorded-music market has declined some 16.3% since 1999, lopping $6.2 billion off the global music pie.

CD burning, downloading, consumer spending in other entertainment sectors and economic uncertainty all have contributed to the decline. However, the IFPI notes, all of these problems have shown signs of relenting this year.

Let's hope they're right.

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