Homegrown Talent Hits the Airwaves in Ecuador
With so many talented people in the world, sometimes it simply comes down to marketing or luck – being in the right place, with the right sound at the right time – that turns a musician or singer into an international star. Local radio stations in Ecuador have been devoting the largest portion of their airtime to international stars, and visitors to the country are likely to hear the popular artists of the day as they travel. But that is all about to change as a result of a new law which was passed recently requiring radio stations to give at least half of their airtime to local artists – a large increase from the estimated 10 to 15 percent of airtime they have been allocated until now.
General Director of the Ecuadorean Society of Artists, Interpreters and Musicians (SARIME), Karina Santiana, noted in an interview that local artists have battled for years for radio airtime, without which the local music industry cannot develop. This has created the impression that there is no musical talent in Ecuador, which is simply not true. It is anticipated that the new law will motivate radio stations to look for local talent, and local talent will no doubt be motivated to strive toward reaching international standards.
Ecuador’s neighbor, Colombia, has produced international stars like Shakira and Juanes, and while Ecuador has a wealth of musical talent it remains largely undiscovered, primarily due to lack of government support. Some artists have received international recognition thanks to the internet, but breaking into the local market has been challenging.
Antonio ‘Pancho’ Feraud of Ecuadorian record company Fediscos has revealed that, while the law was still being debated in the past two years, local musicians have been more prepared to pay for studio time, being hopeful that they may have the opportunity to break into the music industry. This has rejuvenated the record company which folded in 2004 after being in business since 1964. So, with the new law having gone into effect in June 2013, Ecuadorians can look forward hearing more homegrown talent on the airwaves, and visitors to the country can look forward to enjoying both the sights and the sounds of Ecuador.