Market & Promote Music in Mexico

Indie Artists, labels and managers looking to expand into international markets, here’s what you need to know about Mexico:

What’s So Great About Mexico?

With a population of over 115 million, Mexico creates a potential hotbed for multicultural acts.  Couple impressive music statistics (referenced below), with the booming nightlife in Mexico City, brand presence and passion for music, Musicians can’t afford to keep Mexico off their list.  Mexico City houses several buzzing streets ideal for Artists, which subsequently has provided a developing infrastructure for mid level touring Artists and bands looking to score a festival gig.  Mexico is also cost effective for Artists looking to expand their fan base without breaking the bank.

Music Trends

Three important takeaways recording Mexico’s music industry trends.  One, digital sales in Mexico have shot through the roof.  In 2010, Mexico generated less than 13 million digital tracks sales.  One year later in 2011, Mexico sold more than 135 million digital tracks (thanks iTunes).  Naturally other channels should increase as well, such as streaming services, subscriptions, mobile content, etc. but that’s not the case in Mexico.  Subscriptions services make up less than 4% of the market, streaming contributes less than 18% and mobile content is a dismal 8%[1].  Take away number two – brands are finally figuring out how to spend money in Mexico.  Billboard reports that major companies have spent less money on bilingual marketing campaigns in the United States, but in Mexico brands have begun spending money by the truckloads (more on this later).  Lastly, the government is becoming highly interested with coupling talent and tourism.  This means that bands of all types (major and indie, domestic or foreign) now have the opportunity to work with the Mexican government if they can propose a way to increase Mexico’s tourism in specific areas.  In such, the campaigns come with production and/or tour financing[2].

What You Need to Know & Do

To navigate the Mexican market, Artist’s need to work in reverse.  Meaning, establish success in Mexico first, afterwards parlay the success into your home country.  A major misconception is that acts must first have success in their home country prior to penetrating the Mexican market.  Not true.  Additionally, unlike Brazil, the Mexican market is totally dominated by international talent – not local bands.  In fact, only 2 Mexican Artists landed on the top digital sales charts in Mexico in 2012.  “International acts” does not mean you have to be Top 40 Acts.  Bands from all over the world are having success in Mexico.  The hipster/indie market is growing quickly in Mexico, paving way for an exploding indie label market (or market presence).  Again, unlike Brazil where an online presence proves important, in Mexico mobile marketing is the way to get your name out.  Although Mexicans don’t purchase their music via mobile devices, they do use Text Messaging/SMS more so than most Europeans, Americans and Asian markets.  Specifically, nearly 70% of Mexicans have noted to text message in the last 30 days, more so than e-mail, view videos, or download music.  To promote in Mexico, you must build up a mobile/text message database, not e-mail addresses or mailing address.  This information helps secure brand endorsement.  Brand partnerships have increase substantially within Mexico, as top companies like Pepsi, MasterCard, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Honey Bunches of Oats, and State Farm are merging with Artist who can help create a cross-over atmosphere[3].   If you’re an American act, focus on developing strategies to cater to Hispanics ages 15-24 as they represent a key buying marketing in the U.S. and outnumber Non-Hispanics Whites in America.  If you build a fan base from that age group within Mexico, brands will come knocking down your door in the U.S. (work in reverse).   Oddly, success in Mexico translates into partnership appeal for larger U.S. companies; but U.S. success (1st) doesn’t necessarily have the same draw.

What You Need To Avoid

Novelty items may be hot all around the world, but if you attempt to sell vinyl or bundles in Mexico – good luck.  As stated earlier, stick to digital development.  Nobody cares if they can find your music on streaming services, YouTube, subscriptions providers and so forth – just make sure you’re listed in all digital stores.  Additionally, there’s no need to sink major importance into merch, as sales remain minimal.

Final Tips

  • You don’t need a label to have success in Mexico – you need contacts.  If you don’t have contacts, I recommend purchasing the Billboard International Buyers Guide.  It’s expense, but worth it
  • Don’t be scared to develop marketing campaigns and pitch them to AT&T, Pepsi, State Farm, or Coca-Cola – they’re spending money on indie/major Artists in the area
  • Focus on digital distribution.  Steaming services (at the moment) are irrelevant
  • Penetrate the 15-24 age demographic
  • Focus touring efforts around Mexico City.  More so, attempt to work with the W Hotel.  The hotel chain is known for creating campaigns around Musicians
  • Don’t sell vinyl
  • Build your presence in Mexico City and expand outward

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