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Spain’s Recording Industry Facing 100M Euro Loss Due to Coronavirus

BARCELONA — Spain’s recording industry will suffer a direct hit of at least 100 million euros ($109 million) in losses due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Spanish industry association Promusicae.

The dire prediction comes in the face of news that recorded music sales in Spain peaked in 2019, when intake rose to 296.4 million euros ($324 million), up more than 22% over 2018. Those numbers, released Wednesday (April 1) by Promusicae, represent a long fought for and robust recovery from 2014, when the recording industry slid to its lowest point after a decade-long decline.

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“The coronavirus crisis has negatively impacted our activity and will abruptly halt us,” Antonio Guisasola, Promusicae’s president, said in a statement. Favorable music sales in 2019, particularly for music in Spanish, “generated enormous optimism in our sector, but which unfortunately has not lasted us long,” he says. “All of the sources of income for producers of recordings will be seriously damaged as a consequence of the current situation.”

Guisasola says that income from physical sales would be cut in half in 2020, and that streaming platforms would lose at least 50 million euros (almost $55 million). He added that the coming economic crisis could mean that billing in the sector could drop by one third in the coming year.

Given this panorama, Promusicae, whose 115 multinational and independent members represent more than 90% of overall activity of the Spanish recorded music industry, has sent its figures to Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Sports requesting a financial relief fund to cover losses, Guisasola says. The association is also seeking a diverse fiscal stimulus plan, soft loans and promotional campaigns for music “to buffer the crippling blow that that the virus has also delivered to the phonographic industry.”

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Spain’s projections of financial impact from the virus outbreak mirror that of other large European music markets. In Italy, Enzo Mazza, the president of major labels body FIMI, estimated that losses to Italy’s music industry could also exceed 100 million euros. The live sector there suffered an estimated loss of 10.5 million euros ($11.5 million) for the last week of February alone. FIMI says it is seeing a 60% drop in physical record sales, a 70% fall in synchronization revenues and a 70% drop in background music revenues from shops and bars.

In the U.K., an economic impact survey conducted by the Musicians’ Union pegged the cost of the pandemic so far at more than £20 million ($24.8 million) in lost earnings for U.K. musicians.