Worldwide music sales slip again

Global music sales slipped again in 2004, but after four years of declines the record publishers will see the return of growing revenues in 2005 due to online stores and music DVDs, a survey found on Monday. Hit by piracy, Internet song swappers and saturated markets, music sales fell in 2004 by one percent to $32.1 billion. But 2005 will make up for the damage with a one percent increase, said research group Informa. Over the next six years, the music publishing industry will return to the $39 billion sales levels last seen between the years 1997 and 2000, before the invention of cheap CD burners and file swapping services such as Napster and KaZaa.

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Legal Internet song shops such as iTunes from Apple (Research) and Connect from Sony Corp. have opened in many countries. The services connect easily to portable music players, such as iPod, which have become very popular.

On-line music has not made big bucks yet, contributing just 0.9 percent of total music revenues last year, but have changed the image of the industry, said Informa analyst Simon Dyson.

“It has made the music industry sexy again,” Dyson said.

Online music sales will rise to 8.8 percent of sales by 2010, Informa estimates.