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Latin Music Sales Show Small Increase in First Half of 2003

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Shipments of Latin music CDs increased 1.7 percent in the first six months of 2003 according to statistics released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Although shipments of Latin music CDs at mid-year 2003 increased slightly, shipments of Latin music in all configurations in the first six months of 2003 decreased 4.6 percent compared to mid-year 2002, primarily due to fall off of the cassette format. At mid-year 2002, 18.9 million units of Latin music were shipped to retail and direct and special markets while 18 million units were shipped in the first six months of 2003. DVD music videos remained popular in 2003 with net shipments rising 58.3 percent.

"Physical goods piracy of Latin music continues to affect the entire industry. We have accordingly expanded our efforts to target counterfeit and bootlegged Latin CDs," said Rafael Fernandez, vice president of Latin music for the RIAA. "Our Anti-Piracy Unit's stepped up efforts during the first six months of 2003 have netted 200 percent more counterfeit and pirate music CDs than last year, the majority of which was Latin music. This success is significant because, in an increasing number of cases, pirated Latin music is illegally pressed in plants instead of copied onto blank CD-Rs."

"The industry is also looking forward to new releases from Sin Bandera, Cristian Castro, Luis Fonsi, Juan Gabriel, Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Banda El Recodo, Alejandro Sanz, Thalia, and Carlos Vives."

In order to provide a more in-depth and comprehensive look at these statistics, U.S. Latin shipment figures are now 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 to which it best fits. In the first half of 2003, Regional Mexican, which includes Tejano, made up 66 percent of all Latin shipments in terms of dollar value. Pop, which includes rock, contributed 26 percent of all Latin shipments and the Tropical genre accounted for 8 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 Latin, Sony Discos, Universal Music Group, including Univision Music Group, and Warner Music Latina. The RIAA's coverage of the U.S. Latin music market is estimated at approximately 80 to 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. The accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP compiled this report.–Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner