And it's put down to 'digital and physical piracy'...

World sales of recorded music fell by 7.6% in value in 2003, according to the latest figures.

According to new results published today by the IFPI, the organisation who represent the international recording industry, the decrease has been attributed to “the combined effects of digital and physical piracy and competition from other entertainment products”.

Sales in Germany were down 19% in 2003 and down by more than 30% in value since 1999. Denmark, France, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Switzerland also experienced declines.

However, the news is more optimistic in the UK. The statement continues: “(The) US and the UK feature at number one and number three in the world’s top ten major music markets, accounting for 37% and 10% of world sales. Of the world’s top ten markets, only two saw growth – Australia was up 5.9% in value with the UK up by 0.1%.”

These figures come on the day NME published a survey that showed that despite the threat of legal action for UK file sharers, most won’t change their internet habits one bit.

Last week the first wave of lawsuits against serial filesharers hit mainland Europe. By the BPI’s own figures, over seven million people are using file sharing networks illegally, and are the subject of a new campaign to stop people downloading for free.

Readers have launched a scathing attack on the plan, saying they are angry with the BPI, and will continue to access free music regardless.

Over 1,000 NME readers took part in our exclusive survey on NME.COM, and a massive 78% said the BPI’s campaign won’t make them change their downloading habits. Almost three-quarters say they will continue to use free services.

For the full story see this week’s NME, dated April 10, on sale now.