The volume of the German recorded music market shrank in the first half of 2005 to 64.7 million units, down 10.2% compared to the same period last year, according to figures issued today (August 4) by labels body BPW.
CD albums were down only 2.2% to 52.8 million units. Singles lost 34.5% in volume to 7.6 million units. DVD shipments in Germany remained flat at 3.8 million units in the first half of 2005.
According to sources close to the management board of the BPW, revenues shrank by 3% in the first half of 2005. This compares with a 4.5% decline registered in the first half of 2004. The BPW did not disclose any revenue data for the first half of the year.
“Business in Germany is certainly not on the down. The problem is the digital revenues are not offsetting the shortfall in physical sales,” Sony BMG Continental Europe president Maarten Steinkamp tells Billboard.biz. “The curve of the digital business is not as strong as we had hoped. The pick-up seems to be very slow in Germany, and that’s worrying. Overall, we’re not pessimistic, but I’m less optimistic than I was six months ago when we had a lot riding on the digital business.”
According to the BPW, the number of digital music downloads sold in the first half exceeded the full-year figure for 2004. An estimated 8.5 million downloads were sold in the first half of the year, up from 6.7 million in calendar year 2004.
“These are important signals pointing to a change for the better in the German music market. Even so, the situation remains difficult,” comments BPW chairman Gerd Gebhardt.
Traditional retailers remain hopeful for an improvement in the second half. “Business is mixed and could be better. There has been quite a slump since May,” says Josef Pohl, buyer at retailer Media Markt in Landshut. “However, we are hopeful and think that things will improve in the (fall), with business picking up again in time for Christmas.”