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RIAA: Music Sales Resume Decline In ’05

Washington — Retail-level music industry sales resumed their 21st Century pattern of decline in 2005, and not even a near-tripling of digital download revenue could offset the industry’s loss, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) statistics show.

Industry sales slipped 0.6 percent to $12.27 billion, putting them well below their 1999 peak of $14.59 billion. Industry sales have fallen every year beginning in 2000 except for 2004, when sales rose 4.1 percent.

The 2005 decline would have been slightly greater if the RIAA hadn’t for the first time included sales of cellular phone ringtones and ringback tones, subscription-download revenues, music video downloads and digital sales through retail kiosks. Their combined 2005 revenues came to $576 million.

Here is the breakdown of music-industry sales by segment:

Physical media: Dollar sales of CDs, DualDiscs, vinyl and multichannel music formats fell 7.9 percent to $11.2 billion.

Digital music downloads: Revenues from single-song and album downloads grew about 174.5 percent to $503.6 million. The figure includes a modest $4.7 billion in music video downloads and kiosk sales not tracked in 2004.

Ringtones and ringbacks: Sales of 170 million ringtones and ringbacks generated $421.6 million in consumer sales. Sales weren’t tracked in 2004.

Subscription-downloads: In 2005, 1.3 million consumers subscribed to subscription-download services, generating $149.2 million in revenue for download services.