BY CHRONICLE STAFF
The Latin American digital market is still in its
infancy, limited by low broadband
penetration, resistance to online credit card
use and high levels of piracy. However, several
markets are showing promising progress.
Broadband and mobile penetration is rising
fast in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico and
marketing of legal online services has
intensified alongside a campaign for
combating digital piracy.
In Mexico, online downloads topped nine million units up to the third quarter of 2006 – 15 times the volume registered during the same period in 2005. In spite of this growth, digital sales remain concentrated in mastertones and pre-loaded music to mobiles – growing revenue streams for record companies in the absence of fast 3G networks or high penetration of MP3 capable phones.
In Brazil, two major legal sites were launched in mid-2006 (Terra and UOL) adding on to the more established iMusica. There are now 20 websites offering legal downloads in the country. More than 90 per cent of all digital sales are made as mobile downloads, the majority of them mastertones.
Argentina is also showing a steady growth in digital sales, which quadrupled in the year to July 2006. Some 80 per cent of all digital sales are currently made as mobile downloads. Online music service providers include 10musica, Zapmusic, Farolatino and Ubbimusica. The latter two launched last year.