The digital music business continues to soar, new figures published by the IFPI reveal. But the overall picture for recorded music is less cheerful.

The digital music business continues to soar, new figures published by the IFPI reveal. But the overall picture for recorded music is less cheerful.

In the first six months of 2006, global shipments of physical soundcarriers shrank by 10% worldwide for a trade value of $8.4 billion, down 4% from the corresponding period in 2005.

The IFPI cites piracy and competition for consumer spending as factors in the poor first half performance.

In its interim world music sales report, issued today (Oct. 12), the labels body noted the growth registered in some territories, including Japan (12%), South Korea (5%) and Australia (6%). On the other hand, other markets such as Germany (-4%), the United States (-7%) and France (-9%) deteriorated during the period.

On a brighter note, the value of the digital music sector in the first half rose to $945 million, up 106% vs the same period in 2005. Digital sales, according to the IFPI, account for about 11% of the total recorded music market worldwide.

The United States, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom are highlighted among the territories which support the most advanced digital music markets.

The IFPI excludes midi files, ringtones and non-artist related content sales from these figures. Its data is collated from IFPI members and major record companies and include an estimate for non-reported sales.

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