Retail music sales slide in first quarter


TORONTO -- Canada's retail music sales fell 35% during the first quarter of 2007, continuing a near decadelong decline attributed largely to Internet file-swapping, the Canadian Recording Industry Assn. reported Thursday.

The major Canadian labels disclosed that sales of CDs, music DVDs and other physical music formats came to CAN$68.7 million ($57.5 million) for the first three months of the year, compared to the CAN$105.6 million posted in the first quarter of 2006.

In all, the majors and Canadian indie labels sold 7.1 million units during the period, compared with 10.2 million in 2006, down 30% year-to-year, the CRIA reported.

Digital music sales are rising in Canada, but not enough to stem a continuing decline in the sale of product at the retail level.

The sharp 2007 fall-off in sales follows a 12% sales decline for full-year 2006.

"We've experienced sizable short-term drops before, but nothing compares to the drastic numbers we're seeing so far this year," CRIA president Graham Henderson said Thursday.

His organization is currently lobbying the federal government to introduce new copyright legislation to curtail Internet file-swapping and counterfeit CDs and DVDs.