While total U.S. shipments were down 7.2% last year, a strong fourth quarter at retail helped stem the tide. According to figures released today (March 4) by the RIAA, the U.S. industry shipped 798.4

While total U.S. shipments were down 7.2% last year, a strong fourth quarter at retail helped stem the tide. According to figures released today (March 4) by the RIAA, the U.S. industry shipped 798.4 million units last year to all channels, including direct and special markets. In value terms, total shipments declined 6% from the previous year, to $11.9 billion.

At retail, a strong fourth quarter saw shipments rise 5.5%, helping reduce the overall year-end decline to 2.7%, with shipments totaling 658.2 million units. On a value basis, retail shipments totaled $11.1 billion, 4.3% behind the 2002 total.

CD shipments to retail markets in 2003 totaled 609.8 million units, a decrease of 3% from 2002. This decrease equates to a 5.1% decline in suggested list dollar value in 2003.

Shipments of CD singles, meanwhile, improved significantly, up 85.5% from 2002. In 2003, 8.3 million units were shipped compared with 4.5 million in 2002. In dollar value, the increase was 84% to $35.9 million.

The three-year decline (2000-2003) of music unit shipments is now 26%, and the value of those units declined 17.2% since 2000, according to the RIAA.

The report shows the popularity of newer music formats. The music-video category, dominated by the DVD format, demonstrated significant growth to 19.9 million units, up 35.6% from 2002.

Figures for other emerging formats, such as digital downloads, were not included in the report.

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