January 03, 2006


Wow! Movie tickets are down, too. Maybe we are sick of shit being crammed down our throats?

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 3) - Music retailers suffered their steepest sales decline in three years during 2005.

Compared with 2004 -- which, in a tic of the calendar, had a 53-week retail year -- the market for CDs plunged more than 10%. Based on a 52-week year, sales were down nearly 8%.

This crash -- the worst since 2002, which witnessed a plummet of 10.7% -- was all the more dizzying for retailers because the business appeared to be rebounding in 2004, when sales rose a modest but encouraging 3.8%.

Sadly, the writing was on the wall throughout the fourth quarter this year. In what is traditionally the critical period for stores, a parade of new titles experienced immediate and sharp sales spikes. Album sales were buoyed at year's end by some long-running titles, greatest-hits compilations and a new entry in the perennially best-selling "Now" series.