China, Canada and the US – The Italian music industry looks overseas

Second spotlight on Hit Week 2012: this time it’s about Italian music.

No doubt Subsonica, Negrita and Emma Re would have gathered all the Italians in Los Angeles. But behind the successful live shows there is a more important project that aims at promoting a well selected group of artists, that don’t “fit” the Italian mainstream, abroad. It’s both a cultural and a marketing operation that looks at China, Canada and the US. 
The Italian music market alone can’t guarantee the return on investments; moreover, it’s time to show that the Italian cultural ferment is more alive than ever. But what are the chances to become competitive in the global market if, in all the cities hit by the Festival, the majority of the audience was Italian? “It’s a long but normal process”, says Max Casacci (Subsonica). “It happened in the past with different music genres. Latin music, Reggae music, were initially exported and enjoyed by migrants, before reaching a wider audience”.
Then we wonder if, when facing foreign audiences, the Italian language becomes a barrier or a characterizing feature. “The Italian language is one thing with the band,” continues Max. “In the Nineties many Italians chose to sing in English to resemble English or American bands. Then, a new generation of musicians came out from the underground scene: Afterhours, Marlene Kuntz, Casino Royale and also Subsonica… They tried to combine elements of the urban reality with the unique Italian poetics. These bands lasted long; they accepted a challenge and they won it. We shouldn’t be worried of using our own language.”
So what are the countries that are more likely to open the doors to the contemporary Italian music scene? “Far East is definitely an interesting market, and South America is still a good partner” says Enzo Mazza (FIMI President). “North America is the hardest territory to win, for the huge variety of music it produces and for the high standards; but if we make it, it can give excellent results, and Hit Week is working towards that direction”.
Hit Week is produced by Francesco Del Maro for Music Experience Roma Italy and Mela Inc. Los Angeles, with the support of NIAF and The Rhythm Foundation Miami. The Festival is promoted by The Italian Ministry of Economic Development, The Italian Federation of Music Industry, The Puglia Region and The Italian Trade Commission in Los Angeles, and is presented under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles, in collaboration with the IIC Los Angeles.

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