Latin Music Industry Hit Hard By Harsh Immigration Policies, ‘Fatal’ For Business

Reuters reports that despite growing “mainstream attention,” the Latin music industry is “enduring its worst downturn in recent memory.” The music industry as a whole has been struggling for many years, but that doesn’t explain why Latin music’s decline is outpacing that of the rest of the market. Numerous executives now believe immigration raids and hardline immigration policies are exacerbating the challenges posed by an economic recession:

The reasons for the drop-off cited by numerous executives echo the challenges facing the market as a whole, but their effect is magnified in a Latin marketplace that often occupies a place parallel to the mainstream. Many retailers report that sales of all Latin products — including books and other non-music-related merchandise — have suffered. Because so many Latins work in construction and service industries, they may be disproportionately affected by the economic downturn and also by harsher anti-immigration policies…

More than the economy, raids aimed at illegal immigrants have been “fatal” for business, the managing director of one Los Angeles-based Latin retailer says. “Ninety percent of our business came from immigrants. That’s gone now.”

While many in the Latin music industry are now looking at “revving up a digital marketplace” and expanding outreach to “mom-and-pop stores,” the “glaring omission” of public support for immigration reform amongst industry remains. A 2008 Reuters article pointed out that Latin acts have been more than willing to express “vocal support for a wide array of causes,” yet immigration reform has remained largely absent from their laundry list of political causes. Many industry figures say they favor immigration reform and sympathize with the plight of illegal immigrants, but few have organized broader efforts to back the cause and help “many of the people who support their music [and] are here illegally and under siege.”