• From Rio to São Paulo: Shifting Urban Landscapes and Global Strategies for Brazilian Music

    K.E. Goldschmitt (see profile)
    Ethnomusicology, Music and Sound
    Brazil, Cosmopolitanism
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    music industry, São Paulo
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    Recently, international media outlets have celebrated São Paulo for its cosmopolitan musical output and its vibrant street art scenes. That discourse connected the city other generative periods in the histories of so-called "global cities," such as New York of the 1970s. In those cities, the simultaneous developments of multiple creative scenes in urban contexts helped to define the place and epoch. This attention can be good for São Paulo, especially considering that it is less internationally regarded than Brazil's second largest metropolitan area, Rio de Janeiro. Based on ethnographic research in the independent music industry in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro between 2007 and 2015, I argue that the shift in attention from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo is accompanying larger strategical changes among independent record labels after years of uncertainty. That geographic reordering from the tourism-friendly Rio de Janeiro to the relentless urbanity of São Paulo is an indication of whether or not music businesses choose to represent a "Brazilian" essence in music. I show that Brazil’s musical brand now emphasizes genres and styles closely linked to São Paulo and the cosmopolitanism that city embodies. In a break with the past, these labels rarely emphasize discernible "brazilian" musical styles, such as forró and bossa nova, without also promoting globally urban musical styles such as "indie" rock, dancehall reggae, electronic dance music, and hip-hop. This chapter investigates the growth and emergence of an independent popular music scene and how it relates to changing notions of Brazil’s nation brand.
    A revised version of this chapter will be published in Sounds and the City: Volume 2 Fall 2018 on Palgrave. It's loosely based on a seminar paper presented at the Society for American Music in 2011.
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
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