Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

CFA MH333/433 A1

MWF 12-1 CFA (855 Commonwealth) B36

Prof. Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Surveys the musical styles of Latinos in the US. Discusses the role of these musics in articulating race, class, gender and sexual identities for US Latinos, their circulation along migration routes, their role in identity politics and ethnic marketing, their commercial crossover to Anglo audiences, and Latin/o contributions to jazz, funk, doo-wop, disco and hip hop. Case studies may include Mexican-American/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican and Cuban-American musics; Latin music in golden age Hollywood; Latin dance crazes from mambo to the Macarena; rock en español; the early 2000s boom of Latin artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer López; reggaetón, race politics, and the creation of the “Hurban” market; and the transnational Latin music industries of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Miami: The Latin/o Music Industry Sound Machine

The Latino population in the US has sextupled itself since 1970.

As one of the fastest-growing population groups, this also means that Latinos are rapidly becoming one of the largest sectors in U.S. society, passing African-Americans as the largest non-white group in the US in the 2000 census.

This growth is increasingly fueled by US-born Latinos.
So, understandably, advertisers, politicians, and the media are tripping over themselves to endear themselves to Latinos. However, Latino remains a complicated category.
The music industry is no exception. Latino music grew by 20% every year in the 1980s, with proliferating subcategories: Tropical (salsa, merengue, bachata), Regional Mexican and Tejano, and Spanish-language rock, pop, and alternative. 1998 figures show that of this, more than half the sales were of Mexican styles, and 23% Tropical. 
So the industry is still looking for the secret sauce to get at all the prized demographics. And not just the record industry:

OK. The new Latino generation is out there. It primarily speaks English but supposedly 'feels' Latin (according to many published studies). Why then, isn't it buying the alternative, edgier Latin music that should appeal to it? Perhaps because it's in Spanish. Whoever resolves this riddle will make a bundle. (Billboard, 2004)
There have been a couple of approaches. One has been marketing Latinos, singing in English, to non-Latinos. The groundbreaking act in this sense was the Miami-based Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. A song like Conga is in this sense, a direct predecessor to the Latin Boom of the 2000s, but with more Latino (in this case Cuban) musical elements.

RMM records, which took up the mantle of New York and Puerto Rican salsa after the decline of Fania, aimed at a particularly modern, bicultural sound. Producer Sergio George took up young Nuyorican singers who had dedicated themselves to freestyle music, like La India and Marc Anthony, and get them to sing a new, youthful brand of salsa (see also DLG and Proyecto Uno).

The big shift was in the music industry, as RMM went out of business and the 2000 census projected Latino demographic dominance in the US. The Latin music industry shifted toward Miami (and Los Angeles, which we'll talk about next week), where South Beach had been renovated in the 1990s, a large, educated, bilingual population arrived from Latin America. Emilio Estefá's Crescent Moon Studios, a Sony affiliate, brings in 200 million a year.

Christina Aguilera "goes Latin" at the Latin Grammys

Although her own attachment to Latino culture was learned late. The Latin/Latino/Latin American (and Brazilian) music industry throws a party for itself: the Latin Grammys

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