Although overall music shipments declined for the first six months of the year, Latin music shipments and value continued to soar, according to mid-year Latin numbers released by the RIAA.

Although overall music shipments declined for the first six months of the year, Latin music shipments and value continued to soar, according to mid-year Latin numbers released by the RIAA.

A total of 26.9 million units of Latin music were shipped for the first six months of 2005, a 27% increase over the 21.2 million units shipped over the same time period last year. The number translates to a 29.6% increase in dollar value of Latin CDs.

The increase is part of the continued growth in Latin music sales that the RIAA has registered since last year. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of Latin music have been on the rise for the last two years.

The Latin industry's health is being attributed to a variety of factors, including the emergence of reggaet├│n, an increase in promotional avenues and an aggressive effort by the RIAA and the Latin music industry to combat physical piracy. Since 2004, the RIAA has established an anti-piracy unit dedicated exclusively to the Latin market. During the first part of 2005, nearly 40% of all counterfeited product seized by the RIAA was Latin product.

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