"...The record industry poured a little more fuel on the online piracy wars Friday, blaming a steep decrease in CD singles sales in 2000 on unauthorized Internet downloads. Shipments of singles fell by nearly 40 percent last year, after relatively flat growth in the two previous years, the Recording Industry Association of America said. Overall, CD sales were up slightly for the year, compared with 1999 sales, however. The industry said the drop in singles sales was "principally brought on by new options provided by the Internet."
The drop in singles sales, which account for less than one percent of the industry's revenues, doesn't amount to a scathing indictment of the effect of music-swapping services like Napster on the music industry, however. Overall shipments of music to retailers lagged in the second half of the year, but the industry association attributed that in part to the slowing economy and consolidation among the large music outlets.
In the course of the year, the industry posted revenues of $14.2 billion, down nearly 2 percent from 1999. Contributing to the decline were also drops in the numbers of vinyl records and singles, cassettes albums, music videos, and an almost total disappearance of the cassette single. Revenues from CDs rose by just over 3 percent, despite the end of minimum pricing plans that had triggered antitrust investigations from federal and state regulators..."