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RIAA Sales Numbers Up Over 10% in First 1/2 2004 SACD and DVD-Audio Flounder  Print E-mail
Home Theater News Music - Technology News
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Thursday, 28 October 2004

The music industry is showing some signs of a rebound in the first half of 2004, with full-length CD shipments to retail outlets increasing by 10.2 percent, compared to the amount of shipments over the same time period in 2003. This is the first time in five years that the first half of the year has experienced an increase in shipments. DVD music videos and licensed digital downloads also showed impressive growth, according to new data announced today by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Improvement in the performance of the CD format was not enough to make up for a multi-year period of decline. Compared to 2001, CD shipments to retailers remained down by 4.3 percent, and overall product shipments to retailers are down 9.8 percent.

Overall, CDs and all other audio and video music products shipped to retailers increased by 8.5 percent in the first six months of 2004 (289 million units were shipped in the first half of 2004 vs. 267 million in the first half of 2003), while the dollar value of those shipments increased 4.5 percent. When including direct and special markets, the overall percentage growth for the first half of 2004 for units shipped, compared to a similar time frame in 2003, is 4.0 percent (349 million units vs. 336 million). The overall dollar value increase for all units shipped was 3.6 percent.

SACD and DVD-Audio sales made up for about 300,000 units each, showing a declining trend from the combined sales number from 2003 for both formats. This is not good news for high-resolution audio. DualDisc (a new format that is half CD and half DVD) is reportedly to be released this month; promo discs are becoming available now. DualDisc is backwards-compatible with hundreds of millions of CD players and nearly every DVD player installed in the markets. The disc can be sold from a CD bin, which allows it to avoid being relegated to the “audiophile” bin at record stores. DualDisc can incorporate DVD-Audio on the DVD side of the disc. To put the success of DVD-Audio and SACD in perspective in 2004, the two high-res formats combined sold as much as vinyl LPs.

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