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2003 Latin Music Shipments Decreased By 2.5 Percent

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Net US shipments of Latin music CDs from record companies to retail outlets decreased 2.5 percent in 2003 while the dollar value of those shipments decreased one percent, according to statistics released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Due in part to the music industry's increased focus on addressing Latin music piracy around the country, the decline in shipments of Latin music CDs was less than in previous years. In 2002, shipments of Latin music CDs decreased eight percent and the dollar value of those shipments decreased 9.6 percent compared to the previous year.

"While we are encouraged that the rate of shipment decline in the Latin music market was not as dramatic as it was last year, it's clear we still have a lot of work to do," said Rafael Fernandez, vice president of Latin music for the RIAA. "Latin music piracy remains a large problem at retail outlets and flea markets around the country. We continue to concentrate a significant share of our resources to slowing down the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of Latin music."

According to the RIAA, one in three (33 percent) copies of illegal music seized by RIAA's anti-piracy unit around the country in 2003 contained Latin music, up from 24.5 percent in 2002. The largest impact was seen on the West Coast, where 62 percent of all anti-piracy seizures were of the Latin music genre. Overall, 1.98 million illicit sound recordings of the genre were seized in 2003, 40 percent more than in 2002 when 1.4 million illegal sound recordings of Latin music were seized.

As an illustration, over the course of a 27-day period in December, 2003 (December 4 – December 30), the RIAA's West Coast Anti-Piracy Unit confiscated 254,442 discs containing counterfeit or pirate sound recordings. Of that illegal product, 80 percent was Latin music.

Shipments of all Latin music products decreased six percent in 2003 and the dollar value of those shipments decreased three percent. In 2002, the Latin music market saw a decrease of 15.6 percent compared to 2001, representing a dollar value decrease of 14.3 percent.

In order to provide a more in-depth and comprehensive look at these statistics, U.S. Latin shipment figures are broken out by genre. For reporting purposes these genres capture the majority of Latin product being shipped. Product is designated by the reporting companies to the genre in which it best fits. In 2003, Regional Mexican, which includes Tejano, made up 55 percent of all Latin shipments in terms of dollar value. Pop, which includes Rock, accounted for 33 percent of all Latin shipments and the Tropical genre accounted for 12 percent of all Latin shipments.

The figures in this report reflect net shipments of full-length CDs, cassettes, music videos and DVDs into the marketplace and the dollar value of those shipments (at suggested list price) as reported by BMG U.S. Latin, EMI Music U.S. Latin, Univision Music Group, Sony Discos, Universal Music Latino and Warner Music Latina. The RIAA's coverage of the U.S. Latin music market is estimated to be approximately between 80 and 90 percent. No projection of the non-reporting segment of the market is made. Latin music is defined as product that is 51 percent or more in Spanish language. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen