In mid-September, youthful duranguense group Alacranes Musical debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart with its album “Tu Inspiración” (Fonovisa). With 20,000 copies scanned, it was Alacranes’ best-selling week ever.
A mere 15 days later, banda artist and labelmate Jenni Rivera debuted at No. 1 on the same chart with “Jenni,” moving 16,000 copies, her best sales week to date.
And on Sept. 18, “Para Siempre” by veteran ranchera icon Vicente Fernández shot to the top of the iTunes Latino chart, exactly one year after its original release on Sony BMG Latin. Labelmate Los Pikadientes de Caborca had the top video on the site, and for the past month, the group’s single “Cumbia del Rio” has been the top-selling ringmaster for the record label.
It was just a year ago that regional Mexican executives and pundits were bemoaning the crisis of the music industry in general-and the regional Mexican market in particular. Besieged by a surge in anti-immigration raids, skyrocketing gasoline prices and an economic slump, regional Mexican music buyers were feeling the pinch and labels and promoters were feeling their pain.
But today, regional Mexican seems to have gotten at least some of its mojo back, thanks to aggressive pricing, broader marketing and promotional campaigns and an increasing willingness to seek out sponsors and partners.
While sales are far from their glory days of the early 2000s, these individual successes point to a marketplace that reacts positively to different stimuli and where customers still buy CDs.
And as a totality of the market, regional Mexican is outselling other Latin genres more than ever before.
For the week ending Aug. 24, sales of regional Mexican accounted for 60% of all Latin music sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s a significant increase over the 51.7% of the total it commanded by the end of 2006 and even the 57% of the total it had by year-end 2007. More important perhaps, while the genre boasts top-selling stars, it also has dozens of developing and even brand-new acts-like Aliados de la Sierra, Dareyes de la Sierra and Inquietos del Norte-that are making a dent on Billboard’s charts and ushering a new wave of fans to the genre.
Regardless of whether an act is new or established, “we are treating all releases as…
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