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April 15, 2005
Typically, the Major Labels Have Lost Interest
Long NYTimes piece today by Jon Pareles on the vague category "world music" and how it's flourishing in the digital realm after being essentially abandoned by the Cartel. This heading encompasses a huge variety of non-American-pop sounds, including pop from other countries, club music from Europe, new-agey stuff, gospel, drumming, and on and on.
Of course, the best place to get this material isn't in the big box retailers or even local music stores. It's online. Everything from Indian DJs uploading hourlong mixes of their latest club spins to officious institutions like the Smithsonian, which is now offering smithsonianglobalsound.org, a slick and professional presentation including annotations and royalties flowing to musicians around the world.
Pareles does a nice job of turning a paragraph or two on many of the major non-US influences in this area. So if you want to know about Brazilian pop or Congolese soukous you can read a bit. I just wish he had put in a few more URLs. The links are tantalizing but mostly slanted towards commercial services like emusic.
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