An odd side-effect of music piracy

I am on an active quest to learn Spanish, which is a bit complicated at times, as I often find that my developing Spanish language skills mixes with my French to become Franglish (Je suis tres cansado, pero...).

I am on an active quest to learn Spanish, which is a bit complicated at times, as I often find that my developing Spanish language skills mixes with my French to become Franglish (Je suis tres cansado, pero...). I guess Spanish goes into my "other languages" mental database, and sometimes when I make that language SQL call, it comes back with words that don't belong together.

Anyway, the inspiration for my Spanish language quest wants me to watch more Spanish-language TV, and since she knew something of the topic, we were watching the Spanish telenovela awards (essentially, an awards program for Spanish soap operas that, to my eyes, are so melodramatic that they would make Wagner seem like reality TV). Clearly, that wouldn't be my first content choice, but there were no news shows on at the time, and like I said, my inspiration had a certain interest in seeing the show.

Every awards show has musical entertainment, and this one was no exception. The music choice seemed a bit odd, as it featured a bunch of guys wearing streamlined mariachi costumes playing what sounded like slightly latinized German oompah music. Minimalist seemed an apt word, but who am I to say what is considered good music in Mexico? My tastes in music fall squarely in the rock category, and have more in common with the cultural thread that stretches from America to Europe by way of the UK than the music genre common to Latin America.

I looked over, however, and noticed that Ruth was shaking her head. She couldn't believe they were actually playing Banda music on a national awards show. Banda, she explained, isn't very popular in Mexico, and the camera panning across the audience and zooming in on random faces confirmed it. I've seen more animated crowds at funerals, and some who were "rocking out" in their seats were clearly doing so in sarcasm. This was not a popular musical choice among audience members.

Where Banda music is popular, however, is among Spanish speakers in the United States. In the United States, people actually pay to buy CDs, something that is far less common in Mexico.

Piracy, in other words, has created a situation where Mexican awards shows feature music that doesn't really appeal to the local market. The people with a demonstrated willingness to open their wallets, in other words, are the ones at whom musical entertainment will be catered.

That makes me wonder about future trends in the United States. As more and more use digital music players, I expect piracy rates will continue to grow as people become increasingly familiar with digital music files and the ease with which they are retrieved over the Internet. Those musical genres that are most successful at convincing buyers to pay for music will be those that get the most attention at awards ceremonies. Though country music might have some success by pulling on patriotic heartstrings, I think the genre that has the most power to prevent piracy is the one whose sales have been driven to some extent by a certain...religious impulse.

When the Oscars in 15 years feature one country music band and five christian music acts that cause audience members' eyes to roll back into their heads, well, you heard it here first.

All I have to say is: Buy More Radiohead.

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