By Dani Ribas
The life of a music researcher isn’t just about being buried in books and computer screens building charts. A very important part of the job is at the coalface. That’s why it’s essential to take part in fairs, festivals and marketplaces. These events are important for all professionals in the entire music production chain.
For artists, the fairs are a showcase for the specialized public, teeming with buyers and trend-setters. For the professionals, in any stage of their career, these fairs are source for the latest updates and also for networking, the fundamental elements for being active in a fast-shifting area. Amongst artists and professionals, business and contracts begin to develop at such events, and it’s not long before you can harvest the fruit.
For a researcher, however, it’s vital to understand how these opportunities are generated in practice and how they materialize in the long term. The creative economy, of intangible assets contingent on experience, starts at the music fairs. In these spaces, a tete-a-tete conversation can be more fruitful than months exchanging emails. A speed meeting, a talk, or a mere beer during a concert can generate work opportunities for the whole year.
Last week, I went to FIMS (International Southern Music Fair, in the Portuguese acronym), held in the Brazilian city of Curitiba (in the Souther state of Parana). General Director Téo Ruiz opened the program with the following message, a sign of the times:
“In such difficult times, we must not allow ourselves to be “easy”. We have to take the bull by the horns, to demand our corner kicks and to head the ball more often. And to show our convictions, ideas and points-of-view in a more emphatic way, plus not to tolerate bigotry in an even more energetic tone. That’s how the band plays. Action and reaction. Seesaw goes up and down. Two steps forward and one back, that’s how mankind moves according to some thinkers. Our work in culture must become more intense, more intimate, more reflective, homemade and careful in order to overcome the “enemies of the nation” estigma, a black cloud often above our heads. As painful as the step back might be, the third edition of FILMS, other fairs and festivals help to ensure that we paddle against the tide and keep the canoe on course. That’s the spirit when we welcome guests and participants in this edition, with plenty of TLC, and also an attentive look inviting people to reflect about our new role, and which actions we could concoct in order to transform the canoe in a new boat”
The Curitiba and the Parana markets are generally the entry gate for the production in Southern Brazil, which happens to be one of the most important connection points for music in Spanish within Brazil. That’s where, for instance, Tuyo comes from, a shooting star in the national scene and also one of the showcase highlights at SIM 2018. The band A Banda Mais Bonita da Cidade (“The Most Beautiful Band in Town”, in free translation) comes from Curitiba, and they played at the SIMF showcases, promoting their third studio album “De Cima do Mundo Eu Vi o Tempo” (“I Saw Time from the Top of the World”). By the way, what a performance! I went insane when they played TRovoa (by Mauricio Pereira). The instrumental quartet Yangos, from Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil’s southernmost state), was also one of the highlights of the showcases.
The biggest highlights amongst the discussion groups were “The old and the new difficulties at launching an independent album” (with Lio Soares, Luciana Simões, Pena Schmidt, Iuri Freiberger and Madu); “Medias bursting bubbles, the role of music research in the age of infobesity” (with
Mídias furando bolhas: o papel da pesquisa musical na era da infobesidade” (with Patricktor4, Fabi Pereira, Tony Aiex, Melina Hickson and Tati Ayres); and “Brazilian music with Z: what to expect from Brazilian music abroad” (with Raína Biriba, David McLoughlin , Filip Kostalek and Juliana Cortes). Once again, I presented a little bit of what DATA SIM has been up to as part of the talk
“DATA SIM and its first research studies: the importance of reliable data and information for the development of the music market”. Some workshops were a hit with the public, such as “How to get support for you project while also adding value to companies and brands”, with Renata Gomes.
It’s a challenge to measure the value chain of the products and services in this sector. This cannot be done without a knowledge of the market connections and how they are established in business fairs. All scenes are important, regardless of their size. The national scenes are only established once local scenes are formed, and that gets done in such events.