If you’re looking to expand into the Latin American market, you must make an impact in Argentina. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s So Great About Argentina?
Let’s start with the disclaimer – as of recently, Argentina is often cited for having major currency issues, uncontrollable inflation and spiraling crime. Even so, Argentina is a “must have” for Artists looking to grow an international fan base. With a population of 41,000,000, Argentina is the most visited South American country. Despite the negative press, the World Bank still ranks Argentina as a Upper/Middle income economy. Couple the disposable income, large 30 yr. old age demographics, tourism and a booming city like Buenos Aires; and Argentina will likely become a global music hotbed in the coming years.
Referencing growth in the Latin American markets specifically refers to the big three: Argentina, Brazil andMexico. These countries alone make up 80% of the entertainment market in Latin America. Digital sales in Argentina, in comparison to other countries have escalated to disproportionate levels – noting a +416% growth in digital sales in 2012 (much like Mexico’s market). However, unlike Brazil, where there has been a boom in streaming services and visual content, Argentina has yet to hit that curve. Despite the streaming deficiency, Argentina and Brazil have fantastic trade relations, and given Brazil’s upcoming global exposure (READ), Argentina’s musical infrastructure will increase in order to meet the Brazilian’s standards and touring channels should open up between the two countries.
What You Need to Know & Do
Argentina is fragmented into 6 macro regions. Although penetrating each region is drastically different, the only focus for Artists should be the city of Buenos Aires. Often called the Paris of the South, Buenos Aires is the most visited city in South American (beating out Rio De Janeiro) and is the 2nd most visited city in Latin America (behind Mexico City). To have success in Argentina, you must have success in Buenos Aires. For newcomers to the area, focus on colleges in Buenos Aires or the Palermo neighborhood. Pending on your musical style, it’s best to organize touring around the Universities and participate (or attempt to participate) on one of the three major festivals. (1) Quilmes Rock takes place in April and contains several international based acts. Although genre classifications vary from country to country, Rock in Argentina means Rock Music. It’s rare that the festival roster ventures into Alternative Rock, Folk/Rock, Metal, etc. (2) Creamsfield Buenos Aires, typically takes place in November and is a massive EDM festival, while (3) Buenos Aires Jazz Festival also takes place in November and caters more to sophisticated jazz fans. Both Creamsfield and Jazz Festival issue contracts to international Artists, both major and indie.
If you’re looking for label assistance, you won’t find much in Argentina alone. Label discussions should take place regarding the big Latin American market (Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina), but make sure to address the different techniques you plan to use in each country (reference previous post on Brazil and Mexico). Major and indie labels, promoters, managers and agents will have a larger presence in Brazil.
What You Need to Avoid
A few things you’ll need to avoid if you’re looking to gain traction in Argentina. One, do not focus on promotions via social media or YouTube. This is drastically different from the Brazilian and Mexican forms of promotions. In Argentina, print media remains king. If you’ve set a promotional budget, it’s important to spend it 1st on print and 2nd on radio. Two, streaming and music videos do poorly in Argentina. Billboard Magazine claims that internet based music revenue is generated via track sales (49%) while only streaming (1%) and music video consumption (1%) lag far behind. Three, Latin repertoire dominates the charts as roughly 80% of radio is controlled by Latin Artists (but rarely Artists from Argentina).
- Focus all expansion efforts around Buenos Aires
- Spend money on print advertising
- Develop tours for Argentina & Brazil around November
- Capitalize on The World Cup & Olympics coming to Brazil. Touring in Argentina means you’ll be touring in Brazil as well
- Assure that you have digital distribution, as track sales have shot through the roof
- Any EP release will be fine in comparison to album releases, as they statistically out number albums sales in Argentina
- Put little effort into developing visual strategies unlike the Brazilian market where Artists must focus on a YouTube presence
- Gain traction at the University level – regardless of your genre
- Seek label partners for marketing in Latin American. Discuss with labels your strategy in the three key Latin American markets (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina by referencing the earlier articles)