Universal Music Group's revenues for the first half of 2010 declined to €1.9 billion ($2.4 billion), down 5.4% on a year earlier. The decline was 7.9% on a constant currency basis.

In parent company Vivendi's first half results, it said that UMG benefited from strong growth in merchandising sales and increased digital sales, but that overall results were hit by fewer major local and international releases and reduced demand for physical product.

UMG's EBITA was €159 million ($203.6 million), a 24.6% decline compared to the first six months of 2009.

The performance was better in Q2, with UMG's revenue up 2.8% on the prior year quarter to €1.01 billion ($1.3 billion). It was down 3% on a constant currency measure. EBITA was down 9.9% year on year to €91 million in Q2; the constant currency decline was 17.3%.

Titles by Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Florence and the Machine, Drake and Coeur de Pirate were identified as the big sellers in the first half of the year.

The Vivendi statement looked forward to UMG releases from Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Michel Sardou, Florent Pagny, Akon, Zazie, Maroon 5 and Duffy in the second half of 2010.

It also noted that UMG has agreed mobile music service deals with telcos such as Singapore's SingTel and India's Reliance Communications this year.

"Vivendi is investing and innovating in content and platforms to accelerate its growth," said Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of Vivendi, in a statement.

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