Live music sales dive in Spain

Down 10.4% to $35 mil, first decline in a decade

MADRID -- Countering the reigning philosophy that live events will save the music industry in Spain, live music sales dropped 10.4% to €25.8 million ($34.8 million) for the first time in Spain in 2009, according to preliminary figures facilitated by the Spanish authors' rights entity SGAE.

The drop comes after years of sustained growth that has seen live events grow 117% from 2000 to 2008, according to the Music Promoters Association.

Experts blamed the tough economic situation for audiences not spending on live entertainment.

SGAE's final figures won't be available until June, but initial figures indicate the continued decline in CD sales, some 30%, and a 38% drop in musical DVDs.

But there is a silver lining in last year's bottom line.

The canon Spain imposed in 2008 on all newly purchased electronics -- MP3, MP4, PDA, televisions, stereo equipment, cell phones, unused CDs and DVDs, hard drives, USBs, etc. -- has softened the blow.

Revenues from the canon grew to €90 million in 2009, compared to €83.3 million in 2008. The revenues are designed to be divvied up between rights holders via the SGAE and Cedro, the publishers association.