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2006 U.S. CD Sales Down 13 Percent

The continuing sales drop of music compact discs accelerated to nearly 13 percent in 2006 while fast-growing digital download sales failed to make up for the sales shortfall, according to figures published by the
Recording Industry Association of America on Tuesday.

Though sales of music in digital formats such as downloads and mobile ringtones more than doubled in some cases during the year, digital sales did not grow fast enough to cover the revenue gap caused by the downturn in CD sales. Consequently overall music sales were down by 6.2 percent to $11.51 billion.

The U.S. music industry is struggling with the transition of consumers’ preference to digital songs bought from Web-based stores such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes rather than CDs.

More than 615 million CDs were shipped to retail and specialty outlets in 2006 according to the RIAA, a 12.8 percent drop from the previous year. It said sales of CDs fell by 8.1 percent in 2005.

The industry, dominated by four major record companies,
Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp and Bertelsmann’s joint venture Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group and

Warner Music Group, has also been hit buy lost sales through both CD and online piracy.

According to the RIAA, sales of digital songs were up by 60 percent while sales of digital albums more than doubled.

Overall digital sales rose by 74.4 percent to $878 million.

Sales of digital music for use on mobile phones was up by
83.7% to $774.5 million.

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