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State Of The Music Industry

Since 1995, sales of recorded music have seen a significant decline. On the other hand, live music has become more significant.

There are four major record labels that dominate recorded music — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI. The major labels own many smaller labels that serve niche markets and different regions.

Nielsen SoundScan reported for 2005 that the major labels accounted for about 82% of the U.S. music market:
Universal Music Group (USA/France based) — 31.71%
Sony Music Entertainment (Japan based) — 25.61%
Warner Music Group (USA based) — 15%
EMI Group (UK based) — 9.55%
Independent labels — 18.13%

The business of live music, concerts and tours is dominated by Live Nation, the largest concert promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation use to be a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States.

In recent years, Apple has become a major player through iTunes. Apple had entered into an agreement with Apple Records to stay out of the music business. Apple continues to face trademark challenges by Apple Records over the matter.

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