Latin music sector sings upbeat tune

Market shipped 9% more CDs in 2001 than in previous year

While the music industry as a whole sang the blues last year over its dismal sales performance, it was fiesta time for the Latin sector of the market, which shipped 9% more CDs in 2001 than it had the year before, according to data released by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

Like the overall market, however, Latin music shipments across all formats actually slipped by one percentage point, dragged lower by a near-40% decline in shipments of cassette-formatted product.

2 million Latin CDs

The RIAA’s member labels, which together rep about 90% of the total U.S. music market, in 2001 shipped more than 42 million Latin music CDs, worth $583 million, compared with just under 39 million, worth $516 million, the year before. That compares with a decline in shipments of 10% for the music industry as a whole, according to RIAA data released earlier this year.

Shipments can differ from actual sales at retail (recorded by music data firm SoundScan) because there is generally a lag from the time retailers have inventory shipped to them and the time it is actually sold to consumers. Also, the RIAA’s numbers exclude shipments by independent labels.

Rosen touts ‘growing market’

“Latin music is still a growing market, and 2001 sales, while not as strong as previous years, still were very positive compared to the rest of the music industry,” said RIAA president and chief exec Hilary Rosen.

Rosen asserted that piracy, both in hard copies and on the Internet, took its toll on the Latin market as it has on the music biz as a whole.

Meanwhile, cassette shipments in the Latin segment tumbled to just 6.3 million units, down from more than 10 million in 2000, in line with trends for the industry as a whole, which has been phasing out the format for years.

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