Over-the-counter recorded music sales in France fell 14% to €652 million ($794 million) in the first half, compared with the same period last year, according to new figures released by national

Over-the-counter recorded music sales in France fell 14% to €652 million ($794 million) in the first half, compared with the same period last year, according to new figures released by national charts compilers IFOP/Tite Live.

In volume terms, first half sales declined 11% to 48.7 million units. This is the first time comparable over-the-counter sales figures for the French market have been available.

Labels body SNEP has reported a separate, gloomier report on the state of the country's record market. According to SNEP, first half shipments (including music DVD/audio) were down 22% in value to €525 million ($639 million) compared with the same period last year. The volume of shipments decreased by 20% to 58.5 million units.

According to SNEP, the growth of music video shipments slowed in volume terms, registering a 48% increase to 3.4 million units. In comparison, the format recorded a 78% increase to 2.3 million units in the first half last year. Boosted by DVD sales, music video products' share of the recorded music market has nonetheless doubled every year since 2002, and now stands at 6%.

Shipments of albums in the first half fell to 104 million units, down 24% compared to the same period last year, says SNEP. The volume of singles dropped 32% to 18 million units.

"These figures reflect labels' concerns faced with the sales recession which set in two years ago and then worsened," says SNEP in a statement. "The most telling figure is the appearance of an artist signings deficit after ten years of market dynamism."

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