Carlos Lopez, president of Sony Music Spain, left his post earlier this week, Billboard.biz has learned. A Sony Music spokesperson declined to comment on his departure, and no announcements have been made in regard to a successor or further changes in the company.
López, a veteran record executive who started with Spanish label Hispavox, was named president of Sony BMG Spain following the merger of the two companies in October, 2004. He was managing director of BMG Spain for several years before being appointed president of BMG Spain and Portugal in early 2002.
Over the past few years, López had been a very vocal critic of illegal downloading, which has severely impacted the Spanish music market. According to IFPI's 2011 Digital Music Report, music sales in Spain fell by around 55%, well above the global average. In 2010 alone, the market declined by an estimated 22%.
Close to half (45%) of all active internet users in Spain use services that distribute music illegally - a ratio well above the top 5 European Union markets, which average 23% according to a Nielsen survey from October of last year.
According to the same IFPI report, album sales in Spain have also plummeted. In the past five years, the average weekly physical and digital sales of a chart-topping album "fell by more than two thirds, from 26,000 in 2004 to just 7,000 in 2009. In 2010, Spain's number one albums sold an average of just 6,000 copies per week."