LOS ANGELES, July 18 (UPI) -- U.S. album sales dropped 7.6 percent in the first half of 2005, compared with the same period last year, the music industry said Monday.
"Everybody involved in the music industry is concerned, because there's a problem and it doesn't seem like it's being fixed," Daniel Field of The Firm told Rolling Stone. "You walk into a record store and you can just feel it."
Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Doug Morris said despite "the climate of fear" his company is well ahead of last year, which was "one of our best."
Universal's sales have grown almost 10 percent this year, based on strong sales by 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and the Game.
Universal, however, appears to be the exception in the industry.
Nielsen SoundScan reports Sony BMG's market share fell from 34 percent in the first half of 2004 to 27 percent this year, EMI dropped from 12 percent to 10 percent and Warner Music Group jumped from just over 14 percent to a little more than 16 percent.
The industry slump is partially blamed on illegal downloads, the increased popularity of DVDs and video games and growing iPod sales.