Did you buy any discs in 2003?

U.S. Album Sales Fall in 2003 But End on Up Note
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. album sales fell once again in 2003, but there were some signs that the music industry could be pulling out of its long-running slump, retail tracker Nielsen SoundScan reported on Wednesday.
Sales of compact discs, which make up 96 percent of all sales, fell 2.1 percent to 635.8 million units. But the decline in 2002 was a much steeper 8.7 percent, the firm said.
The best-selling albums came from diverse acts, led by rapper 50 Cent, jazz singer Norah Jones and rock band Linkin Park.
For the last three months of the year, when many labels roll out their biggest releases, CD sales rose 5.6 percent from the year-ago period.
Overall music sales — including singles and increasingly popular online downloads — were up 10.5 percent for that period, Nielsen SoundScan said.
Battered by rampant piracy and competition from rival entertainment, such as video games, the record industry has endured three years of slumping sales.
But the recent success of Apple Computer Inc. iTunes music store and Roxio Inc’s revived Napster offering has prompted some industry watchers to suggest that the worst may be behind.
Sales of “current” albums — the lifeblood of the music industry — slipped just 1 percent in 2003. Aggressive “loss-leader” pricing by discount chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co. Inc., likely played a key role, industry observers said. Sales of “catalog” albums, where the labels’ profit margins are often higher, slid 7 percent.
In a sign of the success of newer formats, sales of music videos on DVD more than doubled in 2003 and overall music video sales were up almost 79 percent, Nielsen SoundScan said.
Sales of alternative, jazz and Latin albums were also up overall for 2003, the sales data showed.
Industry leader Universal Music Group, home to both 50 Cent and 2003’s best-selling country music performer, Toby Keith, maintained its top spot with 28 percent of total sales in 2003.
But Sony and BMG, which have announced plans to merge their music operations, would have had a slightly bigger piece of the U.S. market on a combined basis with 29 percent.
Warner Music, home of Linkin Park, which is being sold by its Time Warner Inc parent to a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr., had just over 16 percent of U.S. sales, the data showed.
EMI Group, which is home to both Norah Jones and British band Coldplay, had a market share of almost 10 percent.