Innovation in Latin America Music

The Latin America Music Market has been the source of some of the most innovative recorded-music in the past five years, with genres like reggaeton, Latin pop, trap, and the concept of multi-act recordings featuring three or four singers. The MIDEM Blog looks at recent worldwide successes of the Latin America Music Market and what we can look forward to next.

What is driving the current global popularity of Latin Music? What’s the innovation in Latin America Music? The answer: streaming. “Streaming services have turned the world into a global village,” says Christian Cedras, president of New York-based Big House Publishing. “The fact that we can now listen to anything, anywhere, means that taste has been freed from the release schedules of record labels. Plus the US Hispanic population is now at over 100 million, and I believe our collective musical future is looking set to be dominated by Latin sounds.

While the charts have usually had a sprinkling of Latin acts such as Ricky Martin, J-Lo, and Shakira, the gateway tracks that started the current Latin talent explosion – J. Balvin’s Mi Gente, Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee and the former’s Gasolina – are more gritty and hip-hop influenced than previous tunes from the region: And Cedras believes he has the next breakout song: “We have the single Presidente by an eighteen year-old Venezuelan named Wost and the Bronx native Ginette Claudette,” he says. “Zane Lowe is premiering it on the Beats 1 show, it’s going to be Zumba song of the month worldwide, plus it’s going to be part of a Football 2020/Champions League  ad campaign in over 100 territories.  It’s astounding for a kid like Wost, based in Venezuela – with all of the difficulties they have there with food and medicine shortages, intermittent power, phone, internet, and political violence – to be able to overcome so many obstacles and jump on to the world stage like this.  But that’s a testament to his personality, and a testament to the strength – and love – of Latin music globally.”


Creativity and Competition in the Latin Music Business

Waxploitation Records founder Jeff Antebi’s take on what lies behind the rise in popularity of Latin sounds is similar to that of Cedras: “It’s a lot of factors, but I would say the grooves and the tempos and melodies are universal. It doesn’t matter whether or not people speak the language. They can understand the music from the vibe,” he says. “Also we can’t discount how important dancing and choreography are to kids worldwide, both on social media like TikTok and YouTube especially.  And the music they choose to dance to, whether it’s in Seoul, Paris, Buenos Aires, or Moscow, is very often something Latin. But perhaps the most exciting aspect of all this is that the scene is self-perpetuating because there’s such a huge pool of talent, and they like to challenge each other. The creative competition among artists to come up with something new creates lot of freshness in the streaming and radio landscape.”

Waxploitation signing, Ludmilla

Waxploitation was one of the first non-Brazilian labels to recognise the power of the baile funk scene: “Waxploitation has been very early in the baile funk realm.  We are one of the publishers of several current hits in Brazil including artists like Ludmilla and IZA.  And we also have songs from some of the biggest baile funk producers like Ruxell and Leo Justi. As a general observation, a lot of the beats we’re currently hearing start off as baile funk beats, which we then give to top line writers in the US, the UK, and Jamaica.”

According to Rock in Rio’s Claudio da Rocha Miranda, baile funk is already very much on the radar of some well established names: “There are quite a few collaborations with international acts such as Madonna, Cardy B, Diplo, Snoop Dog and Major Lazer that are released, or coming out over the coming months,” he says. “And in terms of baile funk that has export potential, there are quite a few names that deserve a mention, including  Anitta, Ludmilla, Kevin o Cris, Dennis DJ, Pedro Sampaio, 2Fab Djs and KondZilla.


New Sounds and New Tech Bring Growth for the Latin Music Business

So does da Rocha Miranda agree that the Latin American streaming music market and the access it offers to so much great music have helped to liberate a huge wave of musical creativity in the region? “It’s a mixture of fresh sounds that developed organically and technology that has helped the movement to grow exponentially,” he says.

Rock in Rio’s Claudio da Rocha Miranda

The new music production chain, a model that directly connects the new sounds of the favela straight to consumers and the global market using platforms such as YouTube, absolutely has disrupted the traditional model and accelerated local music export potential.

Musically, it’s very important to mention that all of those trends and sounds are from the same single scene, which is our local bass culture. And we are pushing hard to establish that culture around the world. The Funk Orquestra, headed by DJ duo the 2FAb DJs, is moving to Europe to stay for five months, to play shows at every kind and size of festival, as both a stand-alone DJ act as well as a full band presentation with the 18-piece Orquestra for gigs in clubs as well.”


TOP PHOTO: The Funk Orquestra, headed by DJ duo the 2FAb DJs

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