Shakira's new album, "Fijación Oral, Volumen 1," may break sales records. But it will not be with the support of Ritmo Latino.
Shakira's new album, "Fijación Oral, Volumen 1," may break sales records. But it will not be with the support of Ritmo Latino. The nation's largest Latin retail chain is not selling the album in most of its 42 stores, instead handing out fliers that say the Colombian songstress and her label, Epic, a Sony BMG imprint, have forgotten the star's Latin roots.
"We supported her from day one," Ritmo Latino president David Massry says. "Now that she's a crossover superstar, Sony and Shakira have very little memory."
The Ritmo executive says he is particularly upset that Shakira and her label would not schedule an in-store appearance. "They aren't giving any Latin chain an in-store," Massry notes.
Shakira was unreachable for comment, and executives at Sony BMG Norte, the major's Latin division that is helping Epic to market the album, issued a statement: "We value our longstanding relationship with Ritmo Latino and look forward to continuing our work together in serving Latin music fans."
Shakira's in-stores at Virgin Megastore June 8 in New York and at FYE June 9 in Miami were mobbed. At press time, "Fijación Oral" was expected to sell more than 100,000 first-week copies, and was poised to break Ricky Martin's first-week sales record for a Spanish-language album in the United States. Martin sold 65,000 copies of "Almas Del Silencio" in its first sales week in 2003.
Ritmo has canceled its planned order for 20,000-30,000 copies of "Fijación Oral," according to Massry, instead ordering a small number for Ritmo's newer stores. Enquiring fans receive a flier (see image) that translates in part, "Shakira and Sony Music do not support the Latin community in the USA."
Sources at Sony BMG Norte say Shakira wanted to do the in-store, but there was a scheduling conflict, and that the label tried to offer Ritmo other promotions. A source familiar with negotiations between Ritmo and Sony BMG Norte says that Massry wanted a $2-$3 discount on his wholesale price. But Massry says that only an in-store -- now or promised for Shakira's next album -- will get "Fijación" back on shelves.
The Ritmo exec notes that Universal Music's Latin crossover stars Paulina Rubio, Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony promoted their last albums at his stores, but that Sony declined to schedule an in-store for either Martin's or Shakira's last albums. "The fliers speak for themselves," Massry says. "Sony Music and Shakira are not supporting the Latin community."
Additional reporting by Ashley Christensen, L.A.