That Shrinking Feeling

Sony-BMG France chairman and chief exec Christophe Lameignère says the figures are good because they show the business isn’t shrinking as fast it was.

The wholesale value of the country’s recorded music market fell 13.9 percent from euro 484 million to euro 382 million in the first nine months of 2008, compared with the 20.5 percent it dropped in the same period last year.

Lameignère, who is also head of SNEP, the record labels’ trade body, appears to have been encouraged by the rate of decline being slowed by digital sales going up 52.6 percent to euro 52.8 million ($66.9 million). Digital now accounts for 14 percent of the French market.

He said the digital growth is mainly because of new deals signed by French mobile carriers Orange and SFR, which included fees paid to record companies as part of a guaranteed minimum income.

Streaming and subscription services represented 21 percent of digital sales, compared with 33.7 percent for Internet downloads and 45.1 percent for mobile phone downloads.

Hervé Rony, SNEP’s director general, said he hopes the Internet And Creation Law – more commonly known as “three strikes and you’re out” – will help reduce online piracy and drive digital sales higher.