Global recorded music sales fell by more than 8 percent in 2008 to $18.42 billion led by a sharp drop-off in sales in the United States, according to the world music trade body IFPI.

The global music industry has seen recorded music sales tumble in recent years due to the twin impact of a transition by consumers to cheaper digital song formats such as MP3s and rampant piracy in many countries.

While digital music sales are growing, they have failed to make up for the shortfall of compact disc sales.

Overall, U.S. music sales fell by 19 percent last year while sales in Europe were down by 6 percent. Latin America was also down by 5 percent but Asia was the one positive regional bright spot with sales up slightly by 1 percent.

Sales of physical music formats like CDs fell 15 percent globally to $13.83 billion, led by a drop of nearly a third in U.S. physical format sales and an 11-percent fall in European physical sales.

Digital music sales, which include song downloads, mobile music, online subscriptions and streaming via advertising supported services, grew by 24 percent globally to $3.78 billion. Global digital music sales were dominated by the United States where sales grew 16.5 percent to $1.78 billion.

The world's largest recorded music companies include Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Group.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)