Next week you will get a special treat in this space: I will be giving you daily reports and video from FIMPRO!
What is FIRMPRO?
It is the International Music Fair for Professionals is the most important music industry conference in Latin America. Year after year, FIMPRO delivers music, meetings, encounters and activities that bring together the music communities of Latin America, Spain, the US and Canada – every country where you find Latin bands – all together in a structured environment designed to facilitate business and have fun.
Often referred to jokingly as three days of tequila and music (which is true), it is also a serious conference designed to bring artists together with the power brokers of the music industry worldwide. In speed meetings, workshops, hallways, hotel lobbies and after parties, artists, labels, producers, songwriters, radio networks, music writers (like me!) do deals. It is a major spot in the world where local creators, national and international event programmers, record execs and music media meet on a level playing field, drink, party, negotiate, and create the Latin music world that you will inhabit in the coming years.
The common ground for everyone is Latin music, which ranges from regional music from Chile and Peru, to rock music from Mexico City and Los Angeles, to cumbia from – well, everywhere, to Latin jazz from basement speakeasies in New York and Madrid, to urban Latin from the rock clubs in Guadalajara, to fusion of rock/hip hop/ and son from Havana.
Held at the massive University of Guadalajara (280,000 students), its breakout rooms host dozens of workshops, hundreds of speed meetings, an hours of mini conferences all pulling together the almost 10,000 people signed up on the huge FIMPRO Platform. And that is just in the mornings.
In the afternoons and evenings are showcases delivering dozens of bands from 27 countries. And that does not count the bands that book themselves into local clubs during FIMPRO to catch late-night music lover out on the town. And since the sponsors include major beer brewers and tequila distillers – well, no one goes thirsty.
It is almost too much. Almost.
The speed meetings are especially interesting. Whenever bands or artists go to conferences like NAMM in California, they know there are record execs, A&R’s, and VIPs like the heads of Spotify and TikTok at the conference and they try to engage them in quick business card handoffs after a speech – not very effective. FIMPRO avoids al this by ensuring that all VIP’s are accessible to all artists through a “speed dating” process hundreds of 10-minute meetings between artists and VIPS setup in advance online. You want to talk to the music director of a major motion picture studio, or a senior Spotify exec or a record label A&R, sign up online for your 10 minutes and be ready to pitch when you are F2F.
This year the spotlight is on women. In addition to a generous helping of female artists and women-led bands in the showcases, NOW GIRLS RULE has teamed up with FIMPRO to offer actions artists and companies can take to engage in the struggle for women’s rights not only in the music industry, but everywhere around the world.
Some of the female bands and artists that will be there are Dani from Spain, Ella Contra El Tigre from Mexico, Nancy Sanchez from the USA, La Charo from Argentina, , Lorena Blume from Peru, Paola Navarrete from Ecuador, Papina de Palma of Uruguay, and many more. Plus female executives from throughout the music industry will give lectures, workshops and speed meetings.
One thing you find few of at FIMPRO are famous established artists. There are some – Marisol Hernandez from La Santa Cecelia was at the last FIMPRO – but as a rule FIMPRO introduces new and fast rising artists. This is one reason I love it so much because I meet new bands that I can interview, review and follow on their socials. It is also why the music industry is there. Fresh talent.
This year the event is live, but if you are Latin musician or a fan of Latin music of all stripes, you can get in on some of the fun at https://www.fimguadalajara.mx/. Unless you are in the music industry you won’t be able to access the Platform and sign up for speed meetings, but there are videos and lists of artists to whet your appetite.
And I will be posting video and updates on the conference every day right here Oct.13 – Oct 15.
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