Spain's recorded music market fell less than expected in 2003, thanks to a three-fold rise in DVD music sales and a surprise increase in singles sales.

Spain's recorded music market fell less than expected in 2003, thanks to a three-fold rise in DVD music sales and a surprise increase in singles sales.

Total unit sales dropped 7% to 56.2 million from 60.2 million, and revenue also fell 7% to €493.2 million ($601.7 million) from €530.3 million ($646.8 million) in the previous year, labels' body AFYVE said today (March 3).

But AFYVE president Antonio Guisasola noted that the real decline in the Spanish industry in 2003 was some 10% in both units and income, compared to 2002, because AFYVE's membership now accounts for 93% of total sales, compared to 90% in 2002.

However, a 206.6% increase in DVD music sales to 1.4 million units, making for a near 300% jump in revenue terms to €14.5 million ($17.7 million), helped to soften the fall. Singles sales also reversed years of decline by increasing 79.7% to 3.5 million units from 1.9 million in 2002.

Legitimate CD album sales fell 9.6% to 50.1 million, although AFYVE says pirated CD street sales still account for around 25% of the total market. Cassette sales fell 56.9% to 937,000 from 2.2 million in 2002.

The overall year-on-year drop was less harsh than in 2002, when revenue slumped 16% compared to year before and unit sales were 18% lower.