By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 27, 2001 01:55 AM

This is one year Mariah Carey would probably rather forget. After her highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown last summer and subsequent failure of her movie debut, “Glitter,” now comes news that her record company, the EMI Group’s Virgin label, is preparing to end its relationship with the star. According to the Los Angeles Times, only about 2 million copies of the pop diva’s September release, “Glitter,” have been sold around the world, resulting in an estimated $10 million loss for the British-based company, including marketing costs. EMI is currently preparing to offer Carey, 31, a settlement to break her contract, says the Times. Her original deal, according to the paper, was negotiated last spring and called for four albums, for which Carey would be paid $80 million. (Some reports put the figure even higher.) But, overall, this has not been a good year for the recording industry. Most companies are in a slump, with about 20 million fewer albums expected to be sold in the U.S. this year, a significant two percent decline in business — and a first such drop for the once-seemingly invincible music biz. International sales are said to be declining at the same rate, with such high-profile stars as Carey, R.E.M. and Macy Gray not selling like they used to. By comparison to the failure of “Glitter,” Carey’s 1993 album “Music Box,” released by her former label, Sony, sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. There has been no comment from Carey on the Times story.