Assembly Fiddles As Music Sales Burn

While the Creation and Internet (three strikes) bill has become subject to so many amendments that it’s unlikely to be subject to a national assembly vote before May 14, the value of the French wholesale recording market has plummeted 16.4 percent in the last year.

Snep, the labels’ trade organisation, announced the figures at a Paris press conference May 5, while across the city the national assembly postponed a vote on the anti-piracy bill until the house has had the chance to study the various amendments to it.

The Socialist opposition’s determination to tinker with the wording of the bill seems to matc French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s determination to see it passed as soon as possible.

The bill was rejected by the national assembly April 9, when the Socialists rallied enough MPs to outnumber the ruling UMP party in a poorly attended session immediately before the Easter break.

The Snep figures show the wholesale value of the market down to euro 118.7 million ($157.6 million) in the first three months of the year. Physical sales are down 18.5 percent to euro 101 million ($134.24 million) and – less predictably – digital sales have also fallen by 1 percent to euro 17.6 million ($23.37 million).

Internet downloads rose 13 percent to euro 8 million ($10.6 million), but mobile sales collapsed 46 percent to euro 5.3 million ($ 7 million) and mobile downloads plummeted 60 percent to euro 1.5 million ($2 million).

French music appears to have suffered most, as national acts sold 26.4 percent fewer records, while sales for international acts edged up 0.2 percent. The figures still show local repertoire has 64 percent of the contemporary market.

Snep chiefs have been reported as saying that politicians tinkering with the bill has already cost the French industry a month and a half.