A follow up to Chartmetric, Jason Joven, and Chaz Jenkin’s ‘Trigger Cities’

In November 2018, Spotify published an article titled ‘Mexico City Is Now the World’s Music-Streaming Mecca’. In which, Spotify addresses that Mexico City was the first introduction to the company’s Latin-American market, and quickly became the largest listening base worldwide, after less than 5 years. Chartmetric, a music data analytics company, released a detailed 3-chapter ‘mini-series’ lunging deep into how certain geographic locations popularize music and create global trends from the least expected places.

‘Jenkins’ takeaway was that Latin American and South/Southeast Asian “trigger cities” tended to engage with new or emerging artists more rapidly, irrespective of an artist’s home market. Substantial engagement in a trigger city would often be followed by rapid engagement in other such cities, eventually including the artist’s home market.’ (Joven- Part 1)

In some cases, these regions end up actively playing a role in the music movements of other cultures and demographics. Jason Joven, the writer of this series, points out how ‘The Latin Explosion’ of the late 90’s influenced North American music consumption with many Latin songs entering the top of the charts. This aspect of Joven’s case study is interesting since it shows a feedback loop or zeitgeist movement in musical trends. A contemporary example of that is how the ‘trigger cities’ of Southeast Asia adore their K-pop artists and musical acts. Though Joven’s findings show that ‘trigger cities’ more readily embrace music from non-national artists (at times more so than that artist’s home), local musicians also do extremely well in these musically-inclined hubs.

‘Ho Chi Minh City-Vietnam’s most populous city-seems to exist in its own silo. More commonly known as Saigon, locals far prefer Korean acts (8 of the top 10), sharing a love of K-pop boy band SEVENTEEN with Bangkok. The city’s #1 most listened-to artist on Spotify is their “queen of V-pop”, Mỹ Tâm…Though a “small” artist on Spotify, Mỹ Tâm’s YouTube channel has accumulated over 850M channel views.’ (Joven- Part 2)

Eventually, some of these silos break, and like dominos the ‘trigger cities’ initiate on their intended plan, to cause ripples on a global scale. K-pop has become an increasingly listened to genre within American audiences. Groups like ‘Super M’ (who we led promoted campaigns with Capitol Records) are gaining international fame. In October 2019, their first-ever LP titled, ‘The First Mini Album’, landed at No. 1 on the US Billboard charts.

Sometimes, a ‘trigger city’ propels the music of a different nation, while other times these cities elevate a local artist to greater visibility. Or the collective population homes in on current popular musicians, catapulting their reach further. Joven suggests why these ‘cities’ have such a conforming engagement with music, through a broader anthropological lens. Cultures that have more homogenized behavioral patterns tend to follow similar fads, causing a virality. In any regard, that virality ignites and cross-pollinates.
A Taylor Swift song may get more plays in Bogota than in New York City at first. A Reggaeton band may get so many views in Sao Paulo, that it crosses into Miami. How can we as advertisers activate these cities or create new ones? Can we leverage regional Country Music stars to international audiences? Will their plays on a global scale trickle back to their hometown (that their lyrics pay homage to)? How can we make Nashville the next Mexico City?

Read the full ‘Trigger Cities’ series via Chartmetric here: https://blog.chartmetric.io/music-trigger-cities-in-latin-america-south-southeast-asia-15475d58eeec