RECENTLY released figures from the Recording Industry Association of America show that American shipment of records and prerecorded tapes declined by 3 percent in 1982, from 594 million units in 1981 to 576 million. Calculated at suggested retail list price, the value of those shipments was $3.59 billion (down 1 percent from 1981's $3.63 billion). The 1982 figures indicate a steeper decline in units, list price and wholesale dollars in the retail sector, while direct marketing (record clubs and TV/mail order, which account for 15 to 18 percent of the total market) went up.

The configuration breakdown: albums accounted for 55 percent of the market (down from 61 percent in 1981), cassettes jumped to 42 percent (from 28 percent) and 8-tracks declined to 3 percent (from 11 percent). Seven-inch 45s were down, but the more expensive 12-inch dance music singles were up, so that even though unit sales were down, retail list values was up 15 percent.

Here are the manufacturers' dollar and unit shipments of records and pre-recorded tapes:

SINGLES: 137.2 million units: $283 million.

DISC ALBUMS: 241.5 million units; $1.894 billion.

CASSETTES: 183.2 million units; $1.379 billion.

8-TRACK CARTRIDGES: 13.7 million units; $36 million.

1982 TOTAL: 575.6 million units; $3.592 billion.

PREVIOUS TOTALS: 1922--$92.4 million; 1932--$11 million; 1942--$55 million; 1952--$214 million; 1962--$687 million; 1972--$1.383 billion.