Japanese music market sags in Q1

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TOKYO - The Japanese music market -- the world's second-biggest -- sagged in the first quarter, with foreign repertoire turning in an especially poor performance, according to production results released today by labels body the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan.

Physical trade deliveries of audio software by the RIAJ's 44 member companies in the first three months of 2007 totaled 69.2 million units, down 10% from the corresponding period of 2006, for a wholesale value of ¥84.9 billion ($710.5 million), down 7%.

Domestic product was down 6% to 52.9 million units, for a value of ¥66.7 billion ($557.9 million), down 4%. Foreign-product shipments were down 21% to 16.4 million units, dropping 15% in value terms to ¥18.2 billion ($152.6 million).

The volume of music videos and DVDs, meanwhile, rose 9% in unit terms to 15.9 million units in the first quarter, for a value of ¥15 billion ($125.2 million), down 2%.

Overall shipments of music software (comprising CDs, tapes, LPs and music DVDs and videos) totaled 85.2 million units, down 7%, for a wholesale value of ¥99.8 billion ($835.7 million), down 6%.

Digital figures are only released quarterly; the next batch is due out towards the end of May.
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