The value of total U.S. music shipments fell 7.2% in 2003, according to figures released last Thursday from the Recording Industry Assn of America.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)--The value of total U.S. music shipments fell 7.2% in 2003, according to figures released last Thursday from the Recording Industry Assn of America.

Last year, 798.4 million units where shipped versus 859.7 million units in 2002. According to the report, fourth-quarter unit shipments to retail helped offset the 10% decline suffered by the music industry in the first half of 2003.

Shipments to retail rose 5.5% during the fourth quarter. The value of U.S. music shipments from record companies to retail outlets slid 4.3% in 2003, versus a 6.8% drop in 2002, while unit shipments dipped 2.7% versus a 7.8% drop in 2002.

"While the music industry continues to face serious challenges, we are pleased that trends appear to be going in a more positive direction," RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said.

The report shows that newer music formats are gaining in popularity. All formats of music video climbed in value by 38.7%. The DVD format alone skyrocketed 56%.

Shipments of CD singles also climbed, up 85.5% from 2002. The 2003 statistics are supplied to the RIAA by PricewaterhouseCoopers.