The French recorded music industry suffered another difficult year in 2004. Trade body SNEP revealed during Midem today (Jan. 24) that the value of shipments slipped to €953 million ($1.24 bill

The French recorded music industry suffered another difficult year in 2004. Trade body SNEP revealed during Midem today (Jan. 24) that the value of shipments slipped to €953 million ($1.24 billion), down 14.3% from the previous year. This comes on the heels of a 15% year-on-year fall in the value of the market in 2003.

The volume of shipments reached 136 million units in 2004, down 10.2%. The worst-hit format was singles, which declined 21.4% to 23.6 million units. Album sales fell 7.8% to 102.5 million units. Music DVD was the only format to register growth, with a 17.1% increase to 8.5 million units.

In a statement, SNEP said "with a market that has dipped 30% in two years, the situation remains of concern."

However, the trade body notes that sales improved during the second half of the year, which it suggests could be an effect of the industry's legal action against illegal file sharers.

Universal Music remained the market leader in France with a share of 34.4%, followed by Sony at 20.3%; EMI at 15.8%; Warner at 14% and BMG at 11.2%.