K. E. Goldschmitt deposited From Rio to São Paulo: Shifting Urban Landscapes and Global Strategies for Brazilian Music in the group Music and Sound on Humanities Commons 10 months, 2 weeks ago
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.