Music Sin Fronteras 11.6.22
Every year the captains of the musical industry in Latin America, Mexico, the US and Canada gather at the Centro Cultural Universitario Conjunto Santander complex in Guadalajara. This is the major music business conference of the Latin American and Spanish music industry held in Latin America. Other gatherings, like the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas and the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York are not as Latin business focused nor as international.
FIMPRO is designed to put artists and bands in direct touch with the label executives, PR firms, managers, radio networks and streaming platforms and music supervisors for film and TV who buy, record or stream Latin music. Mornings are spent in “speed meetings” – 10 to15-minute meetings between executives and artists, so cards can be exchanged and possible follow up auditions or business meetings can be arranged.
Later in the mornings there are presentations from music industry – Spotify, Bandcamp, Disney Music, BMI, ASCAP, radio networks music brokers and others – delivering how to information to artists and their managers and representatives on how to get booked, streamed, and sold. Q&A sessions address individual issues and often inform the executives on stage of aspects of their business as seen from the artist.
And, of course there is music. Over 600 bands from all over Latin America, Spain, the US and Canada (who knew Canada was part of Latin America – credit NAFTA and the great Latin bands coming out of Canada) apply to perform at FIMPRO and about 50 of these bands and artists are chosen to play.
Over three afternoons (the convention runs for three and half days) about two dozen of these bands are showcased from an elaborate stage set up next to the Santander Auditorium and classroom building. The conference’s tequila and beer sponsors distribute samples of their wares and food vendors set up trailer-based kitchens to serve the traditional 2 – 3 pm Mexican lunch. And the place rocks.
Music tends toward popular – rock and roll, post-rock, pop, electronica, fusion, experimental, rap – with a few traditional or classical artists scattered throughout the program
Afternoons are spent in showcasing bands, both in the Santander Auditorium and the outdoor stage. Nights are where the real parties begin. Bands are grouped by country so that different clubs around Guadalajara can be booked to showcase bands from specific countries. So, for instance, the C2 club may have five bands from Spain between 8 pm and early morning, while the Centro Cultural Breton may have four bands from Ecuador or Canada. Shuttle busses take conference goers from club to club, often with tequila sampling on the bus.
Conference goers makes lists of the bands they want to see and when and where they will be and try to get on the right shuttles at the right time to see them, which usually works. Additionally, some of the 550 bands that did not make the cut book themselves into clubs for gigs and promote them with handbills distributed by friends at the conference to catch the eye of a label or platform executive. These gigs and some f the country-specific showcases are open to the public.
The result is four days of non-stop, top of the class music all over Guadalajara. Since these are the cream of the crop, and many are well-known either in their own countries or internationally, it is an opportunity for conference goers and Tapatios to gorge themselves on the best Latin music Latin America, Spain and the US and Canada have to offer.
It is also a way for me to collect music for my Hot Half Dozen and Music Sin Fronteras columns in Mexico, US and the UK. I will be posting daily updates from FIMPRO here and photos and videos when I can. I hope you enjoy them.
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