As a global company, Play MPE aims to bring artists and tastemakers together across borders. We have been expanding into the Latin Music market and are pleased to offer this article, the first of what will hopefully become many(!) bilingual blog installments related to the Latin market.
When you do a web search for “Latin Music genres” the results can present many popular music styles by country and by territory – so many that it can be overwhelming. So how does one discover what the Latin Music market has to offer when you know nothing about Latin Music?
Let’s say, for example, that you are a tastemaker or a Program Director looking to program a special on Latin Music but have no clarity about what artists or songs to add to your own curated playlists; or let’s say you are a blogger searching for the latest release to review it; or a music supervisor selecting the soundtrack for a tv series. On the other hand, what if you are that artist, that music creator, wishing to promote your music, but you aren’t exactly sure which radio format you would fit? Well, you may or may not have heard about Play MPE, but they know all there is to know about music genres and formats, from top to bottom and left to right. They have been successfully servicing music around the globe for decades, and are now expanding into the Latin music market.
To give you an introductory crash course in Latin Music genres, we can highlight one of the most common references in the music industry in the U.S. – The Billboard Magazine Latin Music charts – which are broken down into 4 categoríes: Latin Pop, Regional Mexican, Tropical and Latin Rhythm. While the charts are based on all of the existing music genres, there are only 4 charts, so some genres and/or formats may fall into one catch-all category. For example there is no Latin Alternative chart but there is Latin Alternative music so depending on the type of Latin Alternative music they may end up in Latin Pop or Latin Rhythm, etc.
- Latin Alternative: This includes (and mixes) Alternative rock, electronica, hip-hop, chillout, metal, pop-rock and punk rock, reggae, ska, lofi and new wave. Some artists that fall under this category are Cafe Tacuba, Manu Chao, Orishas, Caifanes, Bajofondo Tango Club, Aterciopelados, Nortec Collective.
- Latin Pop: Usually combines upbeat Latin music with American pop music. Some artists that were known for romantic ballads in the 70s – like Julio Iglesias and Roberto Carlos – fall under this category. But names like Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Shakira are definitely the strongest references, followed by Thalia, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, and many many others.
- Urban: The genre Urbano includes many subgenres like Latin HipHop, Rap, Reggaeton, LatinTrap, Urban champeta, funk carioca, dancehall, and dembow. At the core of many of these styles are rhythms with African roots, Indigenous sounds, and Spanish language. One of the particularities of these genres is how easy it is to find collaborations across nationalities and languages. Popular artists in this category are Calle 13, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, Wisin & Yandel, Mala Rodriguez, Don Omar, J Balvin, Residente, and Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas.
- Tropical: This is what you commonly expect to listen to when you tune into a Latin music radio station. Tropical Music is mostly geolocated in its creation in Spanish-speaking islands and coasts of the Caribbean. The term did not include Cuban music at the beginning, but nowadays it covers many styles such as Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia, Vallenato, Guaracha, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha. Tropical Latin Music royalty includes: Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Juan Luis Guerra, Marc Anthony, Carlos Vives, Grupo Niche, Jorge Celedon, Romeo Santos and Anthony Santos.
- Regional Mexican: Compared with other regional or major genres, Mexican regional music leads in percentage growth over the past several years, as a Latin music radio format and in streaming services. Probably Mariachi is the first word that comes to mind, but other popular styles are Banda, Corridos, Conjunto, Tejano, Cumbia, Duranguense, Onda Grupera, Ranchero, Norteño. Signature artists include: Vicente Fernandez, Los Tigres del Norte, Conjunto Primavera, Los Temerarios, Los Bukis, Intocables, Banda MS, Carin Leon, Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Cristian Nodal.
While the Latin Music landscape is enormous and rich, it isn’t enough to simply search audio streaming apps and cross your fingers. Music industry professionals can’t simply rely on the results the search engine provides. That approach would limit them from uncovering great new – and not so new – Latin Music creators that just haven’t yet become “famous” enough. Even more, if you work in the music industry, you are probably aware that most new music is made accessible to vetted tastemakers or Program Directors before it is released to the public. If you don’t have early access, you could be missing out on the opportunity to introduce exciting new music to your audience.
On the other hand, what if you are a musician or recording artist with dreams of reaching industry trendsetters to boost your career? Where should you send your music to be on the radar of these key decision-makers in the music business?
If you are new to Play MPE, you might be unaware of the role their platform plays in that equation. Let’s start by saying that Player (web and mobile) and Caster are applications that enable music curators and creators to connect. They have been carefully designed and developed to work equally well for indie artists, major labels and industry professionals.
Perhaps you’re a programmer or artistic director who is inundated with promotional content and looking for ways to streamline your music curation. Or you work as a manager, promoter or publicist and are sending your artist’s songs out to decision-makers in the Latin Music market. Maybe a local radio station is already playing your songs, but you want to expand your horizons further and send your music around the globe. Play MPE can truly help in making that happen.
In the same way, indie artists using the Play MPE platform don’t need to know all the complicated pieces of a music promotion roll-out, or spend hours trying to find contacts and then figure out how to design and send a release so that it will appear professional. Play MPE’s Caster application walks you through every step, right up to ‘Send’.
And major labels are saving immeasurable amounts of time by keeping the release processes streamlined and efficient. Play MPE saves you from having to navigate through countless recommendations via different channels and technologies, avoiding having to sift through endless links. Artists and promoters are able to send high-quality audio files, promotional materials, and all pertinent assets and metadata – in a secure way – to their target contacts in different music formats in different territories.
Play MPE works hard to remove the intermediaries and to shorten the digital bridge between creators and curators of great music.
Written by Angie Marin
Photo by Max Bohme