These days, the bestselling Brazilian music artists seem to have more in common with Nashville than they do with Rio de Janeiro. Música sertaneja (Brazil's own country music) and inspirational Christian music dominated the top ten CDs of 2008, and accounted for the top four positions, and seven of the top ten, according to O Globo newspaper. The Catholic priest Padre Fábio de Melo took the number-one spot with his Vida (Life) album, while Padre Marcelo Rossi disappointed slightly by taking the second and sixth positions with Paz sim, violência não 1 (Peace Yes, Violence No). Rossi was number one in both 2006 and 2007. Sertanejo duo Victor and Leo grabbed the third and fourth positions. Two other "country" artists -- the duo Zezé di Camargo & Luciano and solo singer Leonardo -- placed seventh and tenth, respectively.
Música sertaneja* is especially popular in Brazil’s South, Southeast, and Central regions, in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás, and Paraná. It surged in national popularity and became the single biggest category in terms of Brazilian record sales in the ‘90s. Its popularity in Brazil can be compared to that of country music in the United States, often appealing to those who have, came from, or desire a rural lifestyle and its traditional values. Sertaneja is a pop-music version of música caipira, the rural folk music that includes idioms like toada, moda de viola, cana-verde, and catira. From the 1960s on, música sertaneja became more urbanized, as rural migrants moved to big cities. Sertaneja musicians started to incorporate musical influences from Bolivia, Paraguay, Mexico, and Nashville.
Axé-music queen Ivete Sangalo had the fifth bestselling CD, Multishow ao vivo no Maracaña; Roberto Carlos and Caetano Veloso took eighth place with their Jobim tribute E a música de Tom Jobim; and MPB vocalist Ana Carolina was in the ninth position with Multishow ao vivo -- Dois quartos. The Carlos-Veloso sales reflect the remarkable popularity of romantic crooner Roberto Carlos, who is by most accounts the bestselling Brazilian recording artist of all times, and whose career dates back to his Jovem Guarda days in the 1960s.
According to O Globo, Brazilian music sales grew 5% in 2008 compared with the previous year, which perhaps indicates some type of bottom has been reached in the steep slide of CD sales. The market is now approximately 30% of what it was at the end of the '90s, according to the article. Leonardo Lichote's article did not specify its source for the sales, but they undoubtedly came from the music trade organization ABPD (Associação Brasileira de Produtores de Disco). The ABPD's statistics come from the sales of its members, the major labels of Brazil such as Sony, Universal, Warner, EMI, Disney and Som Livre. It doesn't include the sales of Brazilian independent labels, and therefore excludes popular artists like Banda Calypso from its rankings.
In terms of DVD sales, the top ten titles were released by Padre Rossi, Ivete Sangalo, Ana Carolina, Marisa Monte, Victor and Leo, Claudia Leitte, Xuxa, Amy Winehouse, Roberto Carlos & Caetano Veloso, and Alexandres Pires. Interestingly, the two top-ten lists show a Brazilian market that is more nationalistic than ever before, with only one foreigner (Winehouse) making either list.
copyright Chris McGowan, 2009
*música sertaneja description is from The Brazilian Sound, copyright McGowan-Pessanha, 2008.