Perry Farrell recently upset Brazilian music fans with a comment about their knowledge of music. Though this is bad pr for Lollapalooza's first run at Brazil, it also points to music opportunities in emerging markets for styles of music that are more popular abroad than in the States. All indie musicians - old school or avant garde - would benefit from exploring the possibilities.
Though Perry Farrell claims he didn't actually play "Ugly American" and state that Brazilians are "uneducated about music", the press seems to have missed his earlier derogatory comments at the recent Billboard Touring Conference:
"When we first got there they're like, "Can you bring The Cure?" It made me realize they are, let's call it two years behind, it sounded like even more...The point is that they're going to catch up so quickly to the rest of the world. We're bringing such sophisticated music."
Ok, so despite my respect for Perry Farrell, he is also an arrogant jerk who doesn't understand how to market music in emerging markets. But his comments are also a reminder that emerging markets, such as Brazil, India and China, may well be receptive to forms of music that are not currently as trendy in the States though that shouldn't put off artists with a bunch of whatever they rate you with at Pitchfork!
If you're interested in emerging markets, there are a number of ways to start building ties and creating a fanbase:
60% of YouTube's video views come from audiences that "select a language other than English as the site’s display language." When I was blogging about hip hop fulltime, I began to get contacts from all over the world and most of them had a YouTube presence. So YouTube can be both a way of offering your music to emerging markets and of networking with artists in emerging markets who will help spread the word.
I recently discussed 88tc88, a Hypebot sponsor that can help get your music on mobile phones in China. But mobile music is growing across emerging markets, especially as web users leapfrog past pc's and go straight to mobile.
News about mobile music growth in such markets ranges from a Juniper Research report that singles out China and India, Business analyst Mark Little discussing Google Music as potentially strong in emerging markets due to Android and a recent TNS survey pointing to mobile as the first portal for many consumers in developing markets.
Charlotta Hedman is currently doing a series of posts on emerging markets at Music 4.5 including an interview with a promoter in India. Such a contact can make a huge difference if you're planning on touring abroad but I am also in touch with Aaron Gibson who visited a relative currently in China and set up a show while there that got a great response. I'll be speaking more with him for Hypebot quite soon.
Obviously this post simply scratches the surface. If you're familiar with any of the above approaches to emerging markets, please be in touch. I will be speaking with Aaron Gibson about his experiences and looking for other opportunities to explore this topic, especially if we get a show of interest from Hypebot readers.
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.