Analysts fear the worldwide music market plummeted 10% in value to $33 billion last year – the worst drop in record business history. Official stats are due April 16 from the industry’s trade group the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), but the estimated scale of the downturn has alarmed observers.
Much of the blame is laid on pirated music downloaded from the Internet, especially in the United States, as well as more consumers burning copies of CDs. The IFPI reckons that for every CD purchased, another is burned.
Meanwhile, organized piracy is still on the rise, particularly in Asia and Latin America.
Record companies, however, are hoping that 2001 will prove the bottom of the downward slide.
The industry was heavily hit after the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., but it has closed illegal Web sites such as Napster and launched anti-piracy initiatives this year.