The trade value of music shipments in France fell 14.5% to 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in 2003, according to figures released today (Jan. 26) by labels body SNEP during the Midem trade show in Ca

The trade value of music shipments in France fell 14.5% to 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in 2003, according to figures released today (Jan. 26) by labels body SNEP during the Midem trade show in Cannes. Volume of shipments fell 11.5% to 116.3 million units.

SNEP director general Hervé Rony says the 2003 decline "offsets six consecutive years of growth."

Every month in 2003 showed a drop in value compared to the same month in 2002. The worst decline came in August, when value dropped 37% from the same period in 2002. December was down 21%.

The decline of the French market began in the fourth quarter of 2002, then "worsened dramatically over the following quarters," SNEP says in a statement. The trade group attributes the decline to the explosion of free music on the Internet.

Universal Music remained the undisputed market leader in 2003, with a 33.6% share, down from 35.5% in 2002. Sony Music stayed in second place, with 20.5%, down from 22.5%. They were followed by EMI with 18.1%, Warner Music with 14.2% and BMG with 9.4%.

Domestic repertoire represented 62.9% of total shipments. SNEP says seven of the year's 10 most-shipped albums were by French-speaking acts: Florent Pagny (Mercury), Carla Bruni (Naïve), Kyo (Jive), Calogero (Mercury), Celine Dion (Columbia), Les Enfoires (WEA) and Helene Segara (Orlando/EastWest).

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