The United States is the largest music market in the world. However, artists in countries overseas are reaching their smaller market shares with strategies that musicians in the United States should utilize.
Today, there is an increasing amount of non-English artists that are making the charts.
In an article from last April, we talked about the recent trend of international music becoming more and more popular. Even if the American music scene still dominates the rest of the world, music in other languages is becoming increasingly popular. This is especially seen in the way that Latin-American music and Afrobeats have spread their own influence into music scenes around the world. From Belgian artist Lous and The Yakuza's NPR Tiny Desk Concert, to French duo PNL being invited to perform at Coachella, there is an increasing amount of non-English artists that are making the charts, and in today's increasingly interconnected world, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.
THE EUROPEAN TREND
Artists in Europe have always liked to collaborate on music across countries, and you could occasionally see a song from Italian or Spanish artists featuring a British or German one, for example. It wasn't exactly common, but it was by no means rare. However, following the explosion of drill music in Western Europe, this trend took a whole new magnitude. Today, it happens all the time.
The most substantial recent example of this comes from British star Central Cee, who has received co-signs from Drake and A$AP Rocky to name a few. On his album 23, Central Cee gathered together 8 different artists from all over Europe to deliver the appropriately-titled hit Eurovision. Including himself, the song boasts 2 artists from the UK, 2 from France, 2 from Spain, and 2 from Italy, each with their own verse.
While 8 artists on one song is a rare case, the idea of crossing languages on a song isn't. Italian rapper Capo Plaza released an album in June which counts 4 features. Out of the 4, 3 are French, and the other is British. The list of European superstars collaborating despite not speaking the same language goes on, and doing this has become a staple in Western European music.
This is such a huge phenomenon that it's spread into the fashion industry. In 2021, German streetwear retailer Snipes took their own venture into this new musical landscape and curated The Exchange, a Cypher featuring five well-known artists coming from Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and France. Uploaded to YouTube, the cypher was wildly successful and a second cypher with a new lineup has been released since then.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR ARTISTS
There are two main ways that this can help you as an artist. The first is exposure, the second is creative development.
When you collaborate with an artists from a different language or country, you get exposed to that fanbase. Being on a song with a Spanish artist means you're getting listened to in Spain, which might not have been possible for you before. Central Cee's Eurovision immediately charted in Europe as one of the top songs of the year when it was released, all because it also attracted listeners from Italy, France, and Spain instead of just the UK. Making music with an artist from a different country or who speaks a different language helps you reach a whole new pool of listeners.
The other benefit of these collaborations is inspiration. Music doesn't sound the same everywhere in the world, and there's a good chance that something will catch your ear if take some interest in non-American music. Expanding your horizons can be an outlet into exploring new sounds and accentuating what sets you apart as an artist.
Going beyond the traditional and collaborating with foreign artists could play a huge part in attracting new attention and setting yourself apart.
Collaborating across languages and borders has always been a quiet trend in Western Europe, but it's recently exploded in popularity. Today, artists from different countries are releasing music together all the time, and the numbers speak for themselves.
No one in the US is doing this. American music almost never sees this bridging of languages and cultures, unless it's through Justin Bieber's label forcing him to record a verse on Despacito, or through Drake's weird passport Jamaican accent. Going beyond the traditional and collaborating with foreign artists could play a huge part in attracting new attention, and setting yourself apart.