The French recorded music industry slumped in the first quarter, trade body SNEP reported today (May 3). The market during the first three months generated revenue of €208 million ($262 million)

The French recorded music industry slumped in the first quarter, trade body SNEP reported today (May 3). The market during the first three months generated revenue of €208 million ($262 million), down 12% from the first quarter of 2005. At the same time, the volume of the market shrank by 22.1% to 28.3 million units.

In wholesale terms, the value of the French market dropped 8.8% to €219 million ($276 million).

And although wholesale digital sales have grown almost 300% year-on-year over the same period to exceed €11 million ($14 million), the format is far from compensating for the loss on physical sales.

Digital sales now represent roughly 5% of the wholesale market, with two-thirds coming from mobile.

While 2005 showed signs of stability, Q1 figures are a concern for the industry. "These are very disappointing results, let's hope it was an accident," commented SNEP director general Hervé Rony. Rony still expressed hopes that sales drop would stabilize in 2006.

Sony BMG France chairman/CEO and SNEP VP Christophe Lameignère pointed to the recent two-month street student demonstration throughout France as a possible explanation for the contraction.

Lameignère also acknowledged a change in the market: "It has been a while since we have not seen a record selling 200,0000 to 300,000 copies the week of its release."

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