Universal Music Group has widened its share of the global $33.6 billion music market in 2004, despite the creation of rival Sony BMG, according to data published yesterday (Aug. 2) by the IFPI.

Universal Music Group has widened its share of the global $33.6 billion music market in 2004, despite the creation of rival Sony BMG, according to data published yesterday (Aug. 2) by the IFPI.

The French-owned major company, part of the Vivendi Universal conglomerate, posted a worldwide market share of 25.5% in 2004, up from a market-leading 23.4% in 2003. Sony BMG was next in 2004, with a share of 21.5%; Sony Music and BMG's combined share in 2003 was 22.1%.

EMI came in third last year at 13.4%, down slightly from 13.5% the previous year. Warner Music was fourth at 11.3%, down from 12.5%. Independent labels' aggregate share was stable at 28.4% last year.

Universal's rise was most notable in North America where its share grew to 32.5% in 2004 from 27.9% in 2003 at the expense of all its competitors. Sony BMG's North American share fell to 24.9% from a combined Sony and BMG stake of 27.6% in 2003. EMI's share slipped to 9.9% from 10.5% and Warner Music dipped to 14.2% from 15.8%.

Universal also maintained the lead in Europe with a 26.8% share (25.5% in 2003), ahead of Sony BMG at 25.5% (27.6% in 2003).

In 2004, Sony BMG's regional share exceeded that of Universal in Latin America, Australasia and Asia (excluding Japan).

IFPI calculates the market shares based on the concept of "owned content" which excludes sales from minority-owned labels as well as sales from licensees. The share of Sony Music Japan, which is not part of the Sony BMG merger has been added to the independents' share.

Universal's top selling albums for 2004 were Eminem's "Encore," U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" and Shania Twain's "Greatest Hits." Sony BMG's best-sellers were Usher's "Confessions," Avril Lavigne's "Under My Skin" and Destiny's Child's "Destiny Fulfilled."

Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home," Robbie Williams' "Greatest Hits" and Utada Hikaru's "Single Collection Vol.1" were EMI's top sellers, while Warner top albums were Green Day's "American Idiot," Jay-Z/Linkin Park's "MTV Ultimate Mash Up Presents" and Josh Groban's "Closer."

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