Music sales across some 120 stores in Spain have soared thanks to discounts to mark European Music Day on June 21.

FNAC, the French-owned music and book retail chain, offered a 16% discount on all recorded music for three days from June 21 to June 23. And Spain's biggest department store chain, El Corte Ingles, gave a 21% discount at its 72 outlets during the same week for all recorded music and music DVD sales.

Moreover, Hipercor, El Corte Ingles' hypermarket division, also offered the 21% discount at its 33 outlets.

FNAC has been offering discounts to celebrate European Music Day for 10 years, and El Cortes Ingles for six years.

Neither FNAC nor El Corte Ingles would give figures, but El Corte Ingles director of music purchases Javier Sanchez, says discount sales this year were higher than last year. And each discount sale has been "a success" since the price drop was launched six years ago.

FNAC spokesperson Natalia Mereda did not refute Spanish press reports that spoke of an expected 25% music-sales revenue increase this month (June), compared with the retailer's first June discount campaign 10 years ago.

"All I can say is that this year's discount has been a big success," she says, pointing out that FNAC's 16% discount is also a protest against Spain's 16% value-added tax on recorded music carriers, when the VAT on books is only 4%.

"European governments need to be convinced that a [Rolling] Stones album should not have to pay more taxes than a book by Shakespeare," says Ramon Reboiras, director of FNAC Cultural Action in Spain.

Complementing these discount policies were the dozens of free concerts on June 21 in several Spanish cities. They were organized by, among others, indie-label association UFI, artists collecting society AIE, public national music radio network Radio 3, plus brand owners such as Dutch beer maker Heineken. FNAC organized five concerts in five cities on June 21 in conjunction with Radio 3 and UFI.

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