The digital music boom in Brazil

. May 09, 2019
The digital music boom in Brazil

The Brazilian music industry has plenty of reasons to celebrate. After years of pessimism, the continued rise of streaming services led to growth of 15.4 percent last year, very nearly breaking the USD 300 million mark. In a struggling economy, the music industry is a surprisingly bright light, and streaming is leading the way.

In a country with relatively poor broadband internet coverage and with a large slice of the population not using credit cards, 2018’s stunning 38 percent rise in digital music revenue is notable. In this scenario, perhaps the biggest winners are mobile providers, which have helped foster a new way of listening to music in the country thanks to phone plans bundled with discounts in music services.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last year&#8217;s results were revealed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and its latest Global Music Report, which casts a worldwide look on the state of today&#8217;s music industry. Simultaneously, Pro-Musica Brasil (the representative of the IFPI in Brazil) released its report on the context specific to Brazil.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2018, Brazil was the tenth-largest music economy in the world, totaling USD 298.8 million in revenue. While the country&#8217;s growth was superior to the 9.7 percent rise seen globally, it followed largely the same patterns, with great strides made in digital music and a winding down of physical sales.</span></p> <h2>The face of Brazil&#8217;s music industry</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the make-up of Brazil&#8217;s market is drastically different from that seen worldwide. With global revenue from physical sales still representing nearly a quarter of the market, in Brazil, this share is a measly 1.4 percent. Since the arrival of digital music, the country has lost any habit it once had of purchasing music in physical formats, with CDs regarded as overly expensive. Pirated albums and compilations are still prevalent in many poorer regions of the country, while elsewhere the trend made a huge shift toward digital downloads, and now streaming services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Streaming music was a USD 207.8 million business in Brazil last year, a whopping 69.5 percent of the entire industry. Services such as <a href="">Spotify</a> and Deezer have made huge progress in the country in recent years, offering subscriptions which are affordable to the lower middle-class and representing the most convenient way to listen to music on demand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here, it is also worth mentioning smaller <a href="">streaming</a> services such as <a href="">Sua Música</a>, which focus on popular Brazilian genres, such as </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">arrocha </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(popular-oriented musical genre), </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">brega </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(a style of typically dramatic and romantic pop music), and </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">forró </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">(an upbeat rhythm from north-eastern Brazil), which still reign supreme in certain regions of the country. Initiatives such as this allow independent artists to reach the ears of Brazilian listeners, who were once limited to acts from major labels, playing on leading radio stations.</span></p> <h2>Keeping it local</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The country&#8217;s desire for typically Brazilian genres is also borne out in statistics. In its yearly industry report, Pro-Musica Brasil included a list of the 200 most streamed songs in 2018, which threw up some surprising results. Of the entire selection, only 10 percent of tracks came from foreign artists.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most-played digital single in the world in 2018, Camila Cabello&#8217;s &#8220;Havana,&#8221; was only the 29th most-played in Brazil, with the country&#8217;s top 20 tracks divided between Brazilian pop, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">sertanejo</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and funk.

Ricardo Mello

Ricardo Mello is a consultant at the Brazilian Music and Arts Association, where he has worked for 13 years. He also founded Coletivo 47.

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