The Australian recorded music market in the six months to June 30 shrunk to A$237.20 million ($171.68 million), down 8.7% in value compared with the corresponding period last year, according to figure

The Australian recorded music market in the six months to June 30 shrunk to A$237.20 million ($171.68 million), down 8.7% in value compared with the corresponding period last year, according to figures released today. The Australian Record Industry Assn. (ARIA) reports that record companies shipped more than 24.5 million audio and music DVD/video units during the first half, a decrease of about 4.5% on the same period last year.

The trade body says deliveries of CD albums declined in value by 10.4% to A$196.50 million ($142.22 million) and by 7.45% in volume to almost 18 million units.

ARIA notes that the rate of decline for singles has slowed. The half-year results show a 1.82% volume decline, compared to a 17% drop registered in the first half of 2003. Shipments of singles slipped 8.48% in value during the first half to A$13.3 million ($9.62 million).

Local repertoire and the music DVD formats recorded an "outstanding performance," says ARIA. Home-grown artists claimed 27% of the national albums market, compared with 18% in the same period last year. The two biggest-shifting albums for the first half were by local artists: Shannon Noll's "That's What I'm Talking About" (BMG) and Pete Murray's "Feeler" (Sony). Altogether, nine domestic acts were ranked in the top 25 albums during this period, compared to three in the same period last year.

Deliveries of music DVD format rose by 30.97% to 1.85 million units, for a value of A$25.74 million ($18.63 million), up 7.6%. ARIA attributes the format's growth to a greater variety of releases and greater DVD hardware penetration. However, the average price of titles dropped by 21.1% as lower priced DVDs were introduced to the market.