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Latino youth’s special relationship with música

By Insight Tr3s

Music is an essential part of all the Millennial lifestyle – and for Hispanic Millennials, it’s a fundamental part of their family life. Young Latinos generally have more of a foundation in music than their non-Hispanic peers because their families listen to more music at home, giving them a stronger familiarity with traditional hits and the sounds of their native countries.

Even though the importance of music doesn’t diminish with time, as Hispanic Millennials come-of-age their music consumption habits start to resemble Millennials’ in general. Today, most Millennial music discovery is happening digitally.

Social media – Twitter, in particular – serves as a major tool for finding and sharing music. Being first to turn friends on to a great new music video or catchy tune is a source of pride among Millennials. Twitter also allows fans to communicate directly with artists, connecting them to musicians in ways that were unheard of in earlier generations. This access to celebrities has given Twitter momentum over Facebook in music sharing because it’s so immediate.

YouTube is another dominant music platform. Not only are Millennials watching and sharing videos, music is available for free. Some videos play songs with just a still image of the artist and many full albums, with one video per track, are available for listening in this same format.

Spotify is another player in the new world of music discovery. This easy-to-use streaming application has a great interface and behaves like an iTunes library.

This engaging and heavy music activity online, however doesn’t replace the live music experience among Hispanic Millennials. The big festivals are particularly most influential, with events like Lollapalooza selling out months in advance.

This summer, the H20 Music Festival is targeting bicultural Latinos in Dallas and Los Angeles with a diverse mix of major acts like Maná, Juanes, Snoop Dogg, Paulina Rubio, and Alejandro Sanz. Stronger acts also do big business on tour. Last spring, Maná sold out the Staples Center arena in Los Angeles 11 times over – more than any other artist, including Madonna and Britney Spears.

With so many changes in music listening technology, music is more about songs than albums for Millennials. Just ten to fifteen years ago, people aspired to own and collect CDs; fans identified with specific artists and genres. A trip to a record store was necessary for gaining access to new songs and albums. With the advent of playlists, however, Millennials combine songs on the fly to create any mood that strikes them. It’s immediate, and the bigger picture of how these songs might be classified is of less importance.

Given the shift to online music listening, the concept of music ownership for Millennials is different from the generation before it. In just a few years, physical CD sales transitioned to purchases of digital music files. There was an assumption that digital files would replace CDs — but with the rising popularity of streaming services, ownership of digital files is starting to decline.

Because they’re spending less on music itself, Millennial music budgets are taking on new forms. Instead of buying records or digital files, they’re investing in concert tickets, t-shirts, or other pieces of memorabilia. Heritage artists with older fan bases are still selling records because their audiences are less tech-savvy. Newer acts have to be creative about how they monetize their music, so selling rights to a commercial holds no stigma, today.

The music business has undergone massive changes in a Millennials’ lifetime – and there are no signs the pace of technology is slowing down.

Young Latinos share their parents’ love of music, but their listening habits will continue to look more like their peers’. Because there is no barrier to exploring new music, Hispanic Millennials will continue to express themselves through their music choices in ever-changing ways.

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