RIAA Increases Profits After Piracy Bust

Latin music rose 15 percent in value according to a report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

This is despite alleged piracy rates. The RIAA claims that the rise in sales was a result of anti-piracy movements.

Physical commercial piracy is a concept that has brought the scorn of many internet users. The RIAA would be more then willing to put both file-sharing users and physical pirates in the same boat. However, a recent report states that the RIAA has recently targeted physical pirates in an anti-piracy effort dubbed “Operation Remaster”.

“Operation Remaster” targets physical pirates. The result was two guilty pleas which was reported earlier this month. It was reported that Ye Teng Wen and Hao He, both 30 years of age, pleaded guilty on five counts of piracy. The two, along with a third man, Yaobin Zhai, 33, were indicted in October. 200,000 pirated Latin music CD’s were seized according to Kevin Ryan of the U.S. Attorney for Northern California. Over 500,000 CD’s were seized. According to the RIAA, it was the biggest domestic piracy bust ever.

While it may be debatable on whether or not three indictments would make any difference in the Latin music marketplace, the RIAA claims that the 14 percent increase in shipments was partially the result of the anti-piracy operation.

The other part was because of big hits from Latin artists including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Wisin & Yandel, and Hector “El Father” along with Latin Pop artists including RBD, Juanes, Alejandro Sanz, Bebe and Shakira.

RIAA stated that 55.6 million units shipped in 2005 which is compared to 48.6 million in 2004. The press release states, “The total suggested list price for the industry was $753.7 million. The total wholesale value of the industry was $463.8 million.”

Additionally, the RIAA claims that Latin music piracy is running rampant. Interestingly, the report states, “Latin music accounts for about 6 percent of the overall U.S. music market, yet nearly 40 percent of all pirate product seized by RIAA investigators.”

The RIAA controls 80 to 90 percent of the Latin music market.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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