Despite a slight drop in the third quarter, Universal Music Group revenues for the nine months ending Sept. 30 rose to $3.8 billion, up 5% at constant currency levels compared to the same period last

Despite a slight drop in the third quarter, Universal Music Group revenues for the nine months ending Sept. 30 rose to €3.2 billion ($3.8 billion), up 5% at constant currency levels compared to the same period last year.

A statement today (Nov. 3) from UMG parent Vivendi Universal said the company "outperformed the market" with strong growth in North America, Europe (particularly France) and Australia, offsetting "market weakness" in Asia.

In the U.S., UMG claims it outperformed the market with a 0.1% increase in sales driving a 3-percentage point increase in market share to 31.7%. This performance comes against a 10.4% drop in total U.S. album unit sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

During the period, UMG's global digital sales reached €170 million ($205.2 million), almost tripling the figure for the first nine months of 2004. Digital sales represented 5% of UMG's total revenues (6% in the third quarter).

Best selling albums included new releases from 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Black Eyed Peas. UMG also reported strong carryover sales from Gwen Stefani and The Killers. Regional best sellers included Mylene Farmer, Chimene Badi and Calogero in Europe, Juanes and Cafe Tacuba in Latin America and Spitz in Asia.

UMG revenues for the third quarter of 2005 reached €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion), down 1.5% compared to the same period in 2004. UMG pointed out that the third quarter performance in 2004 had been particularly strong. Growth in digital activity and music publishing during the third quarter of 2005 was offset by lower physical product sales, due in part to what the company acknowledges was a weaker release schedule. Top sellers for the quarter were new sets from Kanye West, Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow.

Overall, Vivendi Universal posted revenues of €14 billion ($16.9 billion) during the first nine months of 2005, compared to €12.7 billion ($15.3 billion) for the same period of 2004, an increase of 10%.