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Brazil’s music boom: streaming, Sertanejo, Anitta and more


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Brazil currently has more active smartphones than inhabitants.

According to Getúlio Vargas Foundation, there are 220 million mobile phones in operation in the country and 207.6 million inhabitants. Factor in computers and tablets, and Brazil is expected to reach two portable devices per citizen by 2019.

This is part of the backdrop to a remarkable growth in revenues for Brazil’s recorded-music market, which grew by 17.9% in 2017 including a 64% rise for streaming revenues.

Despite a severe economic and political crisis – and also great social inequality and the low acquisition power of the majority of its population – Brazil currently displays a great potential to become one of the world’s major music markets in the near future – it was ninth in 2017 according to the IFPI’s Global Music Report. Streaming services from YouTube and Spotify to Netflix are growing their user-bases rapidly.

Sertanejo, Brazil’s equivalent of country music, which is related to agribusiness, is currently the most popular music genre in the country. Artists such as Wesley Safadão and Luan Santana are among the top-grossing live acts, while investors who have never worked in the music business have started to search for prominent talents to invest and profit.

Even with sertanejo’s current market dominance, Brazil presents a great diversity in terms of music styles, and its consumption has been increasingly complex – but also understood.

Culture in Capitals, a survey recently published by JLeiva Consulting in partnership with Datafolha Survey, identified the cultural habits of 10,630 Brazilians over twelve years old in twelve Brazilian cities, such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Porto Alegre.

The study points to going to the movies as the most preferred cultural activity in the country, according to 64% of the interviewees, followed by live shows (46%). Sertanejo is the most popular music style in the country, followed by Brazilian popular music (also known as MPB), rock, gospel music, pagode and pop music.

Among the twelve cities surveyed, sertanejo leads in half: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Manaus, Porto Alegre and São Paulo, forró leads in Fortaleza, Recife and São Luís, and MPB leads in Rio de Janeiro.

55% of 12-15 year-olds stated that Brazilian funk music is the music style they prefer the most. This number drops to 28% for 16-24 years olds. Moreover, the 16-24 age group prefers to listen to pop music (28%) followed by rock (26%), while Brazilians over 25 years old prefer sertanejo, MPB and gospel music.

MPB and rock are the music styles that economically-privileged Brazilians preferred the most. Gospel and sertanejo are the leaders among the C, D and E Brazilian social classes. Economic conditions, it appears, determine the music style that Brazilians consume.

This has created an environment that some music-industry experts see as the launchpad for Brazilian pop music to become the next big trend, in the near future. Singer Anitta has been seen as a case study in how to use effective marketing strategies to develop such an artist’s career, including brand partnerships (in her case, with telco Clara).

Under her baptismal name of Larissa de Macedo Machado, she made a name for herself in Rio de Janeiro’s funk music scene when signed to independent label Furacão 2000, before becoming popular in Brazil in 2013 as MC Anitta with the song ‘Show das Ponderosas’ (‘Powerful Girls’ Show’).

It was at this point that she signed with a major label (Warner Music), dropped the ‘MC’ from her artist name, and began to combine Brazilian funk beats with other rhythms, such as pop, to become more popular in Brazil.

Recently, Anitta decided to spread her music career overseas, and recorded some songs in English and Spanish featuring internationally popular artists such as Iggy Azalea, Maluma, J Balvin and Alesso. This strategy has propelled her into Spotify’s global Top 50 and for the first time in Billboard’s US charts. Moreover, she has also been invited to give interviews on radio and TV shows in the United States and South American countries.

Anitta is currently the most prominent Brazilian artist overseas, following the footsteps of artists such as Xuxa, João Gilberto and Tom Jobim. The success of Anitta has fomented the interest of major labels to invest in Brazilian funk female artists such as Ludmilla and Karol Conka, whose lyrics also focus on topics like female empowerment.

Despite the development of new music consumption formats, such as music-streaming, traditional communicational vehicles such as TV and radio have still a great importance in the Brazilian music market. Even with the growth of smartphone ownership and the popularity of platforms such as YouTube, mainstream artists like Anitta and Luan Santana still get plenty of marketing investment to maintain their presences on TV shows and radio stations.

Photo by ckturistando on Unsplash

Leo Morel

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