Major Labels Face Dour First Half Results

  • Save

The recording industry is now facing a dour first-half scorecard, one that will mirror earlier, first quarter drops.

During the week ending June 3rd, US-based album sales slipped 10.6 percent compared to the comparable period last year, according to figures published by Nielsen Soundscan.  The drop was a mild 0.1 percent slip from the previous week, though the larger year-to-date story remains depressed.  Specifically, cumulative CD sales remain 16.4 percent below year-ago figures, a deficit that has been difficult to narrow.  Overall album sales surpassed 193.7 million units by the end of the recent week, compared to tallies of 231.7 million from the same point last year.  Meanwhile, a-la-carte download sales pushed past 355.1 million for the year, a boost of 49.8 percent from comparable figures recorded last year.

The results strongly suggest that the first quarter downturn is broader than a short-term dip.  That is clearly an unwelcome development for majors, and second quarter financial scorecards are likely to reflect continued losses.  Earlier, EMI Group Plc posted immense fiscal year losses of £263.6 million ($520.1 million), and revenue drops of 15 percent.  Elsewhere, Warner Music Group shed $27 million during the recent first quarter, far broader than year-ago declines of $7 million, and industry leader Universal Music Group also faced pronounced declines.