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RIAA Announces First Half 2006 Music Shipment Numbers
By Mi2N
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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced its mid-year shipment data for the first half of 2006.

The overall estimated retail value of the industry, when shipments of physical products to various outlets are combined with the estimated value of digital revenue streams, was $4.9 billion during the first half of 2006. That represents a 6.1 percent decline when compared to the first six months of 2005.

On the digital side, revenues from various formats, including downloads, kiosks and digital videos, grew by 86.6 percent in the first half of 2006, with digital formats' share of overall industry value growing to 18 percent in the first part of 2006 - up from 9 percent in the first half of 2005.

Specifically, sales of digital singles increased 71.3 percent in the first half of 2006, with 286.3 million singles in 2006, compared to 167.1 million digital singles during the same period in 2005. Full-length digital albums increased 112.0 percent in 2006, with 12.3 million units sold in the first half of 2006, compared to 5.8 million digital albums in 2005. The number of subscription service users was 45 percent higher for the first half of 2006, with a monthly average of 1.9 million subscriptions, compared to an average of 1.3 million for the first half of 2005.

Shipments of mobile formats (mobile mastertones, ringbacks and other artist-related content) increased 97.5 percent in 2006. Record companies shipped 144.3 million mobile units in the first half of 2006, compared to 73.1 million during the same period in 2005. In fact, mobile formats continued to demonstrate such growth in 2006 that the RIAA developed the Gold and Platinum Award recognizing Mobile Mastertones in June. Partnering with Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) and Billboard Magazine, the RIAA announced the inaugural honorees during a ceremony at the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Overall shipments of physical units (CD, DVD videos, etc.) to retail and direct and special markets decreased 15.7 percent, compared to the first half of 2005. The suggested retail value of physical product units shipped was $4.1 billion, which is a 15.0 percent decline from 2005.

"The music community is embracing the digital age," said Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the RIAA. "While we're encouraged by several promising signs, no transition happens overnight. We have made meaningful strides against the theft of music online and on the street, labels continue to offer and experiment with a variety of digital distribution models, and fans' appetite for music remains strong. The industry is offering fans an impressive slate of new albums in the second half of 2006 that should produce positive results."

"Significant challenges remain," added Bainwol. "Online and hard goods piracy continue to hit the industry hard and no doubt had an impact on our mid-year results. Competition for spending on entertainment, especially in a tough economy, likely played a factor too."

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