Spain's music market continued to slump in 2008, falling by 10.4% in combined physical and digital sales value to €254.4 million ($338 million).

An 8.1% increase in digital sales to €29.2 million ($38.8 million) was not enough to make up for a 12.4% fall in physical sales to €225.2 million ($299.3 million), according to figures released by labels' body Promusicae.

Online Spanish music sales in 2008 represented just 11.5% of the total, says Promusicae, compared to a global average of some 20%, according to figures published last week by the IFPI.

"The results are devastating," says Promusicae president Antonio Guisasola. "The culture of 'everything is free' and 'zero scruples' remains alive and well in the Spanish Internet, while the authorities have still not taken any measures to protect the music sector."

Guisasola adds that "no productive sector has been so punished as ours in 21st century Spain. Unfortunately, the word 'crisis' has lost perspective for us, since we have been immersed in crisis not since mid 2008, like other industries, but since the beginning of the decade."

Sales of physical CD units fell 7.9% to 26.4 million, while sales of physical singles crashed 67.4% to 182,000. Vinyl LP sales collapsed 59.6% to 40,000, while cassette sales slumped 78.8% and almost disappeared at 1,000 only. Overall recorded music physical unit sales dropped 9.4% to 26.7 million.

It was the eighth consecutive music sales drop, and Promusicae notes that at the beginning of the decade, annual physical sales totalled more than €600 million ($796.6 million) in value.

Spain's IFPI affiliate says the overall slump in music sales this decade has topped 64%. "Of every three records that went over the counter, two have now stopped being sold," it says.

Spain's notoriety as a piracy haven was again noted in IFPI's report. Promusicae says a direct result of this is that almost no new Spanish artists are scoring commercial hits. There was only one debutant Spanish artist in the 2008 Top 50 album list, flamenco-soul singer Pitingo at No. 20 with "Soulería" (Universal), which sold 58,000 units, says Promusicae. It adds that just five years ago, there were 10 new artists in the Top 50 sales chart.

The top selling album in 2008 was Madrid band El Canto Del Loco's "Personas" (Sony Music), which moved 187,000 units. This was followed by Miguel Bosé's "Papito" (Warner), with 153,000 units sold; that set was also Spain's top-selling album of 2007. Amy Winehouse was third, with 147,000 sales of "Back To Black" (Universal). Only four other albums sold more than 100,000 units.

Apart from Winehouse, only three more English-language albums figure in the Top 20 sales chart - Coldplay with "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends" (Parlophone) at No. 15 with 65,000 sales; Il Divo with "The Promise" (Syco/Sony Music) at No. 16 with 64,700 sales; and the "High School Musical 3" (Hollywood/EMI) soundtrack at No. 17 with sales of 62,000 units.

Universal Music Spain and Sony BMG Spain (re-named Sony Music Spain from Jan. 1) were almost neck-and-neck in overall market shares for 2008. Universal took over from Sony BMG in the physical sales market, with a 30.86% share compared to Sony BMG's 29.17%. Warner Music Spain took 18.59%, and EMI Spain lagged behind at 12.23%.

It was even closer in digital sales, with Universal taking 35.21% against Sony BMG's 35.02%. EMI came third with 13.06% and Warner had a 12.39% share.

But the majors' shares were contrasting in the Internet and mobile phone market shares: in Internet, the market shares were Universal at 40.81%, Sony BMG at 27.79%, EMI at 16.11%, and Warner at 12.09%. In mobile, the shares were Sony BMG at 39.24%, Universal at 31.93%, Warner at 12.56% and EMI at 11.27%.

In every market share breakdown, the fifth biggest label was Barcelona indie Blanco & Negro, with its market share ranging from 2.21% to 4.57%.