034_G17_Spotlight_Brazil

Global_17

Spotlight Brazil Music for the masses: Latin America gets onto the itinerary Major acts from the USA and the UK are starting to include Brazil in their international tours. Not only are the bands themselves realising that there is a lot of money to be made from these live concerts – their governments back home are starting to recognise the ‘soft’ diplomatic boosts generated by media coverage of these bands, with tourism benefiting particularly Mark Hillary Ask anyone what they know about Brazil and the usual stereotypes will be forthcoming – the beach, the love of football, the carnival atmosphere full of people dancing to samba. Brazil has all of this and more, but despite its love of indigenous art and music, international rock and pop are extremely popular too. At the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in São Paulo this June, the musical act before the football starts will be Irish rock legends U2. Festivals are springing up across Brazil, offering fans the chance to see dozens of artists across a weekend and many of these festivals are transplanting a proven formula from overseas – like Lollapalooza or the Monsters of Rock formats. It used to be quite rare for big international artists from the USA or Europe to include Brazil on the tour itinerary, but now it’s seen as a far more desirable destination. Artists can earn a lot in Brazil as concerts are expensive. Seeing an international band play a gig here can be as expensive as attending an opera in London. Ticket agencies have adopted easy Classic British artists from a variety of genres, from The Beatles to Pink Floyd to Iron Maiden, are treated with even more reverence in Brazil than they might receive back home payment strategies, allowing fans to break the ticket cost over 12 monthly payments – so by the time you’ve paid for the show, the band might be back in town. Promoters and taxes may be absorbing many of these costs, but it cannot be denied that artists see Brazil – and Latin America more generally – as a growth market for live entertainment. In June last year, American rockers Bon Jovi only included Madrid on their European tour because they wanted to appear there for the fans – they waived their fees for the show. Originally it wasn’t scheduled, because the promoters did not expect crisis-hit Spanish fans to buy tickets anyway – far from the situation in Brazil where fans are hungry for big-name stars to visit. Charlie Charlton is the managing director of Interceptor, a UK-based artist management company representing acts such as Suede, Simple Minds and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. He thinks that Brazil is now a very attractive destination for his acts: “Any market with a growing economy and population of 200 million should be of interest to a touring band. Outsiders have an awareness of the cultural and musical history of Brazil because of events, for example on Copacabana beach, that make news even on the other side of the planet. “Our recent visits have shown the audiences to have an appetite for music from overseas of all genres and the levels of production and technical expertise locally are now on a par with any other major territory in the world,” he says. “There is also a general need to develop new markets as traditional revenues in older markets falter. I see no let-up in the number of artists wanting to tour Brazil.” In the past decade, the entire music industry has shifted to a touring model, where artists generate most of their revenue from performance and merchandise rather than just selling records. In the current climate, where music is streamed and shared online, the records themselves are almost little more than promotion for the shows, so a market like Brazil is attractive for bands that may never have played to a South American audience. Daniel Hunt, principal songwriter, producer and founder member of British electronic band Ladytron, is now based in São Paulo. He believes that we are about to see an explosion of artists visiting Brazil: “In the past, you would rarely see even commercially successful acts appear live in Brazil or South America for a variety of reasons, mainly routing and label priorities, in addition to misconceptions about safety. An example would be Blur, who have just played for the first time in Brazil despite being massively popular here for 20 years,” he says. Hunt has observed that most of the larger acts have visited for festivals or other heavily sponsored shows and sponsorship issues have caused the cancellation of some events, but a trend is developing where smaller acts are now including Brazil on their tour schedule: “Smaller acts are coming to play shows in key cities and smaller festivals on small budgets, offering a far more sustainable model for those wanting to play in Brazil and enhancing the likelihood of this turning into a territory they can revisit for greater returns later on,” he says. “Based on my own experiences, I would have loved the opportunity to play down here earlier in my career than I have, and with my partner, Steve Miller of Evol one of northern England’s biggest independent show promoters, I have been looking to assist in ways to make this happen by building reliable routing in Brazil and elsewhere, and reducing the overhead of coming down to South America, through local expertise and co-promotion. We are also working on a showcase programme specifically for cutting-edge music from our own city of Liverpool. Our objective is to make touring in Brazil and South America as simple and painless as it can be in Europe or North America,” he adds. With Brazil becoming a more important 34 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2014 global


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