Pricing was a key issue at the retail discussion during the Billboard Regional Mexican Music Summit yesterday, with a CD price of $10 often cited as a magic number.

"Price is a very, very, very key factor," said David Massry," president of the Ritmo Latino retail chain of stores. Frontline product priced under $10 during early release weeks, added Massry, sells briskly. Once prices go up, sales drop dramatically.

According to Sandra Ramirez, Latin product manager for Handleman, sales of products under $10 have risen by more than 100% in the past months, while "everything over $10 is down double digits."

Pricing is especially important, all panelists agreed, to the regional Mexican consumer, who typically has more economic constraints.

"When gas prices go up, we notice a drop in sales," said Jeff Young, VP of sales for Univision Music Group. "When you talk an $18 price on an album, particularly an album by a new artist, do you think they're going to take a risk? No. They're going to download it for free."

Daniel Fernandez Garcia, director of sales for Three Sound Records, agreed. "No album should sell for over $10," he said.

The retail panel, moderated by Billboard's director of charts/senior analyst Geoff Mayfield, took place on Day One of the regional Mexican Music Summit at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles. The summit ends Oct. 3.

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