The Australian recorded music market in 2004 shrunk by 6.04% in value and 3.79% in volume, according to the Australian Record Industry Assn.

The Australian recorded music market in 2004 shrunk 6.04% in value and 3.79% in volume, according to the Australian Record Industry Assn. The value of the market was A$606.9 million ($483.9 million), vs. A$646 million ($515 million) in 2003. More than 63 million units were shipped, down from 65 million.

CD album shipments dropped 5.52% to A$509.8 million ($406.5 million); volume was down 4.75% to 48.2 million units. CD singles fell 6.45% to A$26.6 million ($21.2 million) and 1.89% to 9.2 million units. ARIA says digital music sales have yet to achieve substantial volume.

"These are clearly disappointing figures," says ARIA CEO Stephen Peach. "In previous years, while the American and Japanese music markets dipped, the Australian market held its own. Now, while markets overseas are showing signs of recovery, Australia's has gone backwards."

Downward pricing pressure at retail contributed to a flattening of the music DVD and video market. The sector dropped 8.08% in 2004 to A$66.9 million ($53.3 million) but posted volume growth of 6.45% to 5.2 million units. In the past two years, this sector has posted 100% growth each year. Ian Harvey, executive officer of the Australian Music Retailers Assn., says music DVD and video was increasingly influenced by heavy discounting at department stores.

On a positive note, domestic acts made up 32% of the overall recorded music business, up from 28% in 2003. In 2000, the corresponding figure was just 24%.

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