CD sales fall as industry's global woes hit Britain
Wednesday 14 August 2002
The global decline of the world music business has hit Britain, with the domestic industry recording a massive drop in sales this year.
Year-on-year figures fell 15.4 per cent over the spring and early summer. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) admitted the long-term outlook was now "gloomy".
Last year the value of the global music business fell by 5 per cent although Britain bucked the trend. The latest quarterly figures show sales fell in nearly every format, consolidated by the spectacular failure of the MiniDisc, which dropped by 76 per cent compared with last year.
The spread of CD burners and internet piracy has contributed to the decline, although Britain is still less affected than the United States, where broadband internet access is more common and allows people to pirate tracks in seconds.
A spokesman for the BPI said piracy was growing and remained a long-term threat to artists and record companies. "I would not write the British music industry off yet but the global trends are gloomy," he said. "Piracy has not had a massive impact on the British market yet but I don't think anyone is celebrating as it is still spreading globally."
Vinyl albums fell by 30 per cent in the figures for April to June, cassettes by 62 per cent and CDs by 14 per cent. But the biggest drop was the 76 per cent fall in the newest format, MiniDisc. The only increase was in sales of seven- inch vinyl singles, which went up by 14 per cent, partly because of the remixed Elvis Presley song "A Little Less Conversation", and the success of the singers Will Young and Gareth Gates from the Pop Idol TV series.
The BPI spokesman insisted much of the fall was down to record companies not putting out big releases for fear they would be overshadowed by the World Cup and Golden Jubilee. Guaranteed big sellers from Oasis and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were among the releases delayed over the summer.
Record companies also cut spending on all advertising by 28 per cent and on television adverts by 33 per cent.
The BPI spokesman said: "If you were a record company executive you would not want any grumpy artist on your doorstep complaining that you put their record up against the World Cup.
"You would particularly not want a grumpy Oasis on your doorstep."
A spokesman for the Guinness Book of Hit Singles said sales of seven-inch singles were also helped by the success of the Strokes and the White Stripes, bands who insisted on putting all their singles on the vinyl format.
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