Australian Record Sales - 2004 Full Year Results

Market declines but Australian music performs well  

The wholesale market for recorded music for the year ending December 2004 showed a continuation of the downward trend, in both value and volume, that was identified in mid 2004. However, the decline in the market for the full year was not as severe as the half year figures were indicating. In total, overall wholesale recorded music sales (including albums, singles and DVDs) were down almost 4% by volume to 63.1 million units and the overall value fell by 6% to $607 million.

The market for all configuration types, except the DVD format, declined in both volume and value over the course of the year. The DVD format, whilst experiencing a slowdown in the rate of growth and a decline in overall dollar value, is still proving to be a popular carrier for music and is expected to remain a focus for growth by record companies.

The CD market declined across the board, with sales of albums falling by 4.75% in volume and 5.52% in value. This is largely a result of the decline in both Top 50 and Top 100 albums sales over the year. Top 50 album sales decreased in volume by 6% and Top 100 albums sales decreased in volume by 1.6%.

On a positive note, sales of Australian repertoire increased in 2004, with sales of Australian titles in the ARIA Top 100 Albums Chart increasing to 32% by volume, up from 28% in 2003.

The CD singles market experienced a slight decline of 1.89% by volume, though the larger decline in value of 6.45% confirms that wholesale prices have continued to decrease over the year.

The industry attributes the overall decline in both the volume and value of the market to various factors, including:

  • The continuing effect of competitive entertainment products including new technology and products such as digital music carriers, advanced mobile telephones and and non-music DVD (especially the increased retail “rack space” given over to non-music DVDs at the expense of recorded music products)
  • The increasingly competitive retail environment and the impact that such an environment has on wholesale prices, and
  • The significant growth over the last 12 months in the uptake of high speed (broadband) internet access in Australia, which more easily enables the illegal downloading of music.

In short

  • Record companies shipped over 63 million units in 2004
  • Music DVD sales are up 6.5% in volume, but is showing a significant reduction in average pricing with value down 8% on the previous year
  • The market for CD singles continued to decline, although the rate of decline appears to have slowed, at least in volume terms, reducing by 1.89% in volume and approximately 6 .5% in value
  • Sales of Australian repertoire in the ARIA Top 100 Singles chart increased, reaching 24% of the chart sales total and including 24 separate entries on the ARIA End of Year Charts (up from 17 in 2003)
  • Four of the Top 5 Chart Albums for 2004 were by Australian acts

Despite the reversals in the industry’s fortunes that occurred in 2004, the industry remains optimistic about the coming year.

In 2004, there was a ten-fold increase in the global market for legitimate digital music downloads – a trend that the industry anticipates will start to be replicated locally during 2005. Whilst the online services currently operating in Australia have yet to break through in the same way that they have overseas, the industry is encouraged by the overseas results during 2004 and looks forward to similar success locally during 2005.

In addition, 2005 will see the increased rollout of 3G mobile phone networks in Australia. Such services will create growth in downloads of both full recordings as well as master tones (ring tones made from the actual studio recording) direct to mobile phones, together with the streaming of full-length audio and video.

The industry’s continued commitment to the ongoing fight against online and offline piracy demonstrates that it is determined to create and entrench an environment where legitimate download services and the physical recorded music market can grow and prosper.

Contact: Christy Hayes
Communications Officer, ARIA
02 8569 1144

To see the 2004 ARIA Full Year Figures Click Here (PDF)

10 March 2005

Site Map | Search | Terms of Use | Privacy | Copyright 2005- © ARIA - Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd. All rights reserved.