The Japanese music market, the world's second-largest, continued to decline in 2004, according to preliminary year-end shipment data from the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan.

The Japanese music market, the world's second-largest, continued to decline in 2004, according to preliminary year-end shipment data from the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan.

Shipments of pre-recorded music by the RIAJ's 42 member and associated companies were down 4% from last year to 315.1 million units, for a wholesale value down 5% to ¥379 billion ($3.7 billion).

On the positive side, shipments of music-oriented visual product, such as music DVDs, were up 10% to 35.8 million units, but the wholesale value fell 2% to ¥55.3 billion ($534 million), suggesting increased pressure on pricing.

The RIAJ will release official production data for 2004 at the end of January and actual sales data shortly after that.