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Laredo Morning Times

Friday, March 3, 2000

Internet revolution affecting music world

By RAMIRO BURR The power of the Internet and new technologies on music sales were among the hot topics at the huge National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM) Convention held in San Antonio last week. More than 3,000 music industry types participated in the 42nd annual NARM gathering, which also featured artists' showcases and awards presentations. In a panel titled "The Latino Music Explosion," participants heard a report from the Recording Industry Association of America, that sales of Latin music have increased 10 percent from $570 million in 1998 to $626 million last year. "In the three years since the RIAA began collecting Latin music shipment data, the dollar value of those shipments has grown nearly 30 percent," said Ricardo Dopico, RIAA director of Latin music. "This is extraordinary market expansion when compared to the overall industry." Dopico also noted that "Hispanics are the youngest and fastest growing minority in the United States and that points to incredible opportunities for this genre." Other panels explored digital downloads, broadband access, home theater technology and the ubiquitous Internet. Singer Liza Minnelli was presented with the NARM`s highest honor, the Chairman`s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement, coinciding with the release of her new Broadway soundtrack album, "Minnelli on Minnelli." The keynote speaker was Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Time magazine`s "Man of the Year." Other artists participating in the showcases included Kina ("Girl From the Gutter"), Anika Paris ("It`s About"), Frankie Negron ("Lo Que Llevo Por Dentro"), former New Edition singer Johnny Gill and British teen pop band BBMak ("Back Here"). CLASSICS: The power of the Internet is making possible all kinds of niche marketing in music. In the world of Tejano, a new website, TejanoClassics.com, is making available music that has not seen the light of days in many years -- music by artists such as Carlos Guzman, Fabulosos Cuatro, Tortilla Factory, Freddie Fender and Henry Zimmerle. "We carry a full line catalog, but we also bought the masters of many old classics," said owner/founder Encarnacion Fuentes. "And we are only (site) selling those early titles. We are busy right now transferring many of those titles from tape and album formats to CD. "We are the first Internetbased store, fully focused on the Tejano," he said. TejanoClassics purchased more than 150 masters from the Falcon Record label catalog. This music was produced during the 1960`s, 1970`s and 1980`s, and includes other notable artists such as Roberto Pulido, Tacho Rivera and the Country Roland Band. All the masters are being digitally re- mastered. The site also carries the new titles by current artists such as the Kumbia Kings, Bobby Pulido, La Tropa F, Emilio and Mazz. Fuentes was a lead guitarist, songwriter, arranger and producer for the legendary Tejano group, Los Fabulosos Cuatro during the early 1970s. He was also a studio musician and producer for the pioneering record label, Falcon Records of McAllen, Texas. Diehard fans of the old school Tejano can also get their kicks on new Internet radio websites. One popular site is BandidoRadio.com, where founders/DJs Jesse "Jumpin Jess" Rodriguez and Gordy "Boogieman" Rodriguez are playing a continuous stream of classic Tejano artists not found on commercial radio stations. Artists like Cha Cha Jimenez, El Conjunto Bernal, Bob Gallarza, early Latin Breed and David Marez, Royal Jesters, Little Joe and more. "The response and support of all the people have been overwhelming. We`ve had emails from all over the United States, including Hawaii and Japan," said Gordy Rodriguez, who added the site had to moved to a bigger ISP to handle the increasing Internet traffic. Visitors need to download the latest versions of Real Audio or Winamp media players to listen to the music. Rock en Español fans will want to check the new website ReUSA.com to listen to interviews and music by Latin rock bands such as Volumen Zero, Bersuit, Café Tacuba, Jaguares, Caifanes and more. "We felt this music was not getting enough exposure and with this program, we want to provide the music that rock fans want to hear," said founder/show producer Nicolás Zapiain. "Selena Forever" update: New cast members have joined the musical rehearsals at the Edgewood Academy of Fine Arts. Actor/singer Danny Valdez will be playing Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Dallas-based singer Margo Reymundo is playing Marcela, Selena`s mother. (Ramiro Burr covers the Latin music scene each week. Burr is also the author of "The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music," on Billboard Books. For questions or comments call Burr at (800) 555-1551, ext. 3429, or e-mail to

*Cheers

(Continued from Page 2D) the 12 divisions. Teams from across the United States were invited to attend this NCA competition at the Dallas Convention Center by qualifying at one of their 1,200 summer camps or through a regional competition or video taped performance. As the world's largest AllStar cheerleading competition, this event attracted more than 20,000 cheerleaders and spectators, making it one of Dallas' largest events. "You could say this is the Olympics of cheerleading, their talent in tumbling and overall precision are amazing," NCA event director Mike Duhon said. "All-Stars don't cheer for any team. They only train to compete." Produced by ten-time Emmy Award winner Warren Pick, the NCA All-Star National Championship will be aired on USA Sports Network in a series of specials called a Month of Spirit of May.

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