August 25, 2006

Latin Alternative Music on the Rise

Story and Photos By James Klein

The seventh edition of the Latin Alternative Music Conference took place in New York City from August 2nd to the 6th. LAMC presents a more daring side to latin music, mostly in rock and electronic music. As in years passed, LAMC presented panel discussions and exhibitions, and concerts.

LAMC is the only conference directed specifically toward the marketing of the alternative music in Spanish. This four day event provided numerous opportunities to know the artists, executives of record sellers, journalists, managers, salespersons and important radio programmers of the genre.

In spite of all the discussion on the industry panels in LAMC, the concerts were what truly gave the event life. This year Gustavo Cerati from Argentina gave his first performance in the United States since the debut of his new CD Ahi Vamos. Also, the Mexican groups Belanova, Mexican Institute of Sound, Allison,and Chetes played in concerts in New York as did Calle 13 from Puerto Rico and the Pinker Tones from Spain.

LAMC’s “Indy” night presented musical talents that are developing in the genre from bands based in the United States like Pistolera and Contramano and the Monareta, a group originally from Colombia.

New Opportunities for Bands

The conference also focused on the new realities of the music industry. For example, the case of myspace.com was a big topic of discussion. This virtual community, that already boasts more than 70 million users around the world, and is utilized by thousands of artists as an autonomous way get publicity and build a base of followers, has become a channel of discovery of new music and of effective communication between artists and the public.


Alternative Mexican Music group, Belanova


Likewise, it has also become in various cases, a means of introduction and springboard to close contracts with record labels which do not have to start from scratch in the development of completely new artists.

Digital Distribution of Music

In addition to the phenomenon of myspace.com, the internet has proven to be a growing market for the sales of music. In the United States 16.2 million digital albums were legally downloaded in 2005, compared with the 5.5 million 2004. Likewise, if we look at the downloads of individual songs or “tracks, in 2005 more than 420 million songs were downloaded. On the other hand, it is estimated that in 2005 world sales in units of portable digital music players increased to more than 60 million and Nokia (the largest producer of cell phones in the world) sold more than 40 million phones capable of playing music.

The digital distribution of music has permitted at the same time, a dramatic change in the form of interaction between the interrelated parts of the music industry value chain. Today, thanks to internet, the artist can reach the public more easily without the need to deliver its material other intermediaries like the record companies, while the consumers enjoy an almost unlimited offering of available digital music, of every genre and in many different formats.

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