The music industry reached a plateau in 2003 and is poised for improvement in 2004, according to Universal Music International COO John Kennedy.

The music industry reached a plateau in 2003 and is poised for improvement in 2004, according to Universal Music International COO John Kennedy.

In his keynote address to the International Assn. of Entertainment Lawyers (IAEL) yesterday (Jan. 25) during MIDEM, Kennedy expressed faith about the future of the industry.

"I am optimistic about 2004. It feels already better than 2003," he said. "We as an industry have adjusted to the market -- we are leaner and meaner in 2004."

Kennedy said the industry has made progress in tackling online piracy through litigation, education and making more repertoire available through legitimate services. He cited the development of the music mobile market, the growth of music DVD and the modernization of copyright laws as reasons for optimism.

"The bad news is that we are managing a business in decline," he said. "We need to find the cure, and there will be no miraculous recovery. There is going to be a slow progress. But I believe we are seeing the start of the recovery."