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Fall of Latin Music Sales Indicates Stress Felt by Undocumented Immigrants

LatinaLista — The nationwide campaign targeting undocumented immigrants is having the expected impact — emptying out factories, creating fear, increasing racial profiling AND one unexpected consequence that is music to no one’s ears — a sharp drop in Latin music sales.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reports in the 2006 RIAA Year-End Statistics, that sales of Latin music CDs went from selling $712,818 in 2005 to $560,967 in 2006.
The RIAA says that Latin music comprises 5% of all music shipped in the United States.

According to numbers tracked by the Recording Industry Association of America, Compact disc shipments of Latin music to retailers declined 23 percent for the first six months of 2006, while the music industry as a whole declined 14 percent.

Based on the breakout by music genre:
Regional Mexican/Tejano 45%
Pop/Rock 34%
Tropical 10%
Urban 11%
It’s not hard to see why sales would be impacted. The majority of the undocumented are Mexican who buy and listen to Regional Mexican music.
The industry professionals think they know why there’s such a drop in sales:

According to Rafael Fernandez, vice president of Latin music for RIAA, while piracy continues to affect the industry and music downloads are becoming more prevalent, immigration also had an impact on the industry, following record years.
“People are more uncertain about their future,” Fernandez said. “Families are sending more money back home or just saving it, which means they spend less on music.”

Yet, at the rate things are going for the undocumented, it’s a shame that they are sacrificing the one thing that universally can lift the spirits or express the desperation and hopelessness a person feels.
People need music.
In this whole persecution of the undocumented, much talk is given to illegal immigrants as a collective whole but the tragedy is that no one is addressing the fact that each individual is suffering psychological stress from having to constantly live in fear — from the kids to the parents.
The one thing people need to get through this ordeal is their music.
In an interesting interview with neuroscientist Dr. Stefan Koelsch of the Max-Planck Institute in Leipzig/Germany, he discusses the function of music, how it is processed in the brain and the emotional effect of it.
(Below are some interesting highlights of the interview.)

MM: Why do people listen to music?
Koelsch: There are those who say that people feel that their emotions are being addressed when they hear music, and this is why they listen to it.
MM: But these associations or emotions that music evokes are highly individual, aren’t they?
Koelsch: I don’t believe this is such an individual matter. I believe that emotional responses to music are much more consistent than we think and that what people associate with a piece of music is considerably more universal than we may imagine. In any case for people in the same cultural group.
MM: Would you describe music as a fundamental need?
Koelsch: People need music, they are musical. Just as people are able to love and the human brain is equipped for language, so it is with music. Just as with language, it is not only the linguists that have a gift for languages, it’s in the human brain. Music is a human need.


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