Despite encouraging performances in several key markets and the continuing growth of DVD, the value of the global recorded music industry in 2003 fell 7.6% to $32 billion. According to a report releas

Despite encouraging performances in several key markets and the continuing growth of DVD, the value of the global recorded music industry in 2003 fell 7.6% to $32 billion. According to a report released today (April 7) by the IFPI, the volume of the entire market fell 6.5% from the previous year to 2.7 billion units.

The CD album format -- which accounts for more than 86% of the entire market -- slid 9.1% in value. Singles and LP formats both suffered double-digit declines.

"The recovery in U.S. sales in the latter half of 2003 and the continued strength of the U.K. market in the face of global trends were critical to world music sales in 2003," says the IFPI in its report.

The top 10 markets were the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Mexico has fallen out of the top 10. "[Mexico] is a very unhealthy development," Jay Berman, chairman/CEO of the IFPI tells Billboard.biz. "It reflects the fact that the two largest markets in Latin America -- Brazil and Mexico -- are suffering. The worst part about that is that they are both sources of repertoire."

On a regional basis, all territories except Australasia reported declines. North America, the world's biggest region, registered a 5.9% drop in value to $12.5 billion. Europe fell 8.7% to $11.8 billion; Asia was down 9.8% to $5.8 billion; and Latin America slid 14.4% to $800 million.

According to the report, Australasia's 4.5% growth in value to $800 million is driven partly by the success of DVD music video and the performance of local repertoire in Australia.

On another positive note, the global music DVD market grew by two-thirds, and now accounts for 5.7% of the overall recorded music market. "DVD growth has been fantastic. It's more than doubled in three years," adds Berman. "It's such a bright spot; we need a few. There are probably a lot of lessons to be learned in terms of the DVD format. I think we still have a couple of years of really substantial growth."

The world sales figures are published a week after the international federation announced it had initiated legal proceedings against 247 file-sharers in line with the stance taken in the United States by the RIAA.

"[It is important] to get the message across to the people that it is illegal, that there are consequences, and I think as a result of that hopefully there will be fewer illegal file sharers and more legal," Berman comments. "I think we've seen pretty healthy development in the United States with regard to the take up of legitimate online services, and we are still at the very, very beginning of that process. "