Regional Mexican Music Experts Discuss the Way Ahead, Narcocorridos at Latin Music Conference
Regional Mexican Music Experts Discuss the Way Ahead, Narcocorridos at Latin Music Conference

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Regional Mexico Panelists: Raul Brindis, Host, "El Show de Raul Brindis," Univision; Fernando Comacho, La Arrolladora Banda El Limode Rene Camacho; Ivan Fernandez, President, Viva Entertainment; Luis Del Villar, President Del Records; Robert Tapia, Artist, Musivisa/Universal (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

Regional Mexican music -- like the rest of the music industry - is facing challenges, but experts in the field believe that a more united effort between radio and new artists will help propel the genre forward.

These insights came to light during the Billboard Latin Music Conference in Miami Wednesday morning during the "Regional Mexican" panel, sponsored by Morgan Renee Live.

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Moderator Raul Brindis, keeping the peace between pro-narcocorridos and anti-narcocorridos opinions (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

Moderated by Raul Brindis, host of the radio program "El Show de Raul Brindis" on Univision Radio, the panel included Fernando Camacho of La Arrolladora Banda El Limon De Rene Camacho; Ivan Fernandez, president of Viva Entertainment; Edmundo Mendieta, president of Mendieta Discos; and artist Roberto Tapia, Musivisa/Universal.

"We need more support from radio," Fernandez said. "We need support from radio as we introduce new artists."

Fernandez pointed out that some radio stations are playing music that was recorded by major acts 10 to 20 years ago, which he understands, but taking a chance on new artists will have to be a priority if the genre wants to survive.

Tapia said radio isn't the only venue, pointing to the Internet as a way to introduce music and build an audience.

"Yes, we're living in challenging times, but we have other options such as the online world," said Tapia, whose music has been supported by millions of fans through the Internet. "It's a great compliment and radio should not be the only way to work in this industry. You have to find a balance."


Regional artist Roberto Tapia, who records for Musivisa/Universal, says he sings about things in the real world -- narcocorrido themes or otherwise (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

Reaching for a young demographic is also key, according to Camacho, who said newer generations of music fans have different needs.

"If you go to some events you see people that are 20 years old, and they already know a lot about artists through the Internet," he said

Mendieta, too, has seen the Internet play a key role in regional Mexican.

"You can play things on the Internet that are not for sale elsewhere," he said. "We've given so much importance to radio, but for my business, the Internet is key."

The panel also discussed the current popularity of narcocorridos, music that chronicles the drug-trafficking world of Mexico.

"I sing about a lot of things," Tapia said, "but I can't say I've stayed away from narcocorrido themes completely. I sing about things that have happened in that world."

Fernandez has a different take. He prefers the focus be elsewhere.

"Narcocorridos is nothing new," he said. "What's happened lately is that many artists are dedicating themselves to that type of music. My opinion is that artists should sing about love and beautiful things and leave that other type of music alone because it's not helping the business."

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Ivan Fernandez, President, Viva Entertainment, would rather artists sing about other topics besides narcocorrido themes. (Photo: Arnold Turner/A. Turner)

Billboard.biz will be reporting from the Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards all week -- check back every couple of hours for the latest!