International Music In The United States

November 12, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

With the success of Gangnam Style, William Weir looked at some of the history of foreign language hits in the United States. Highlights include:

  • Different languages have different natural rhythms, and if more foreign songs were popular in the United States, then Americans would be exposed to a wider variety of musical styles.
  • Some languages might even be more musical than English. Vowels are easier to sing and languages such as French and Italian might be better designed for singing songs because of the frequency of vowels.
  • Yet not only do English songs dominate American musical charts; they appear to dominate global ones. Germany’s top 10 only featured two songs in German last week.
  • There is hope; music stations help decide what’s popular on the radio, however most radio DJs are focused on English music. With the rise of sites such as YouTube which allowed Gangnam Style to become popular, it is possible that America will see more foreign language hits.
  • America also has a growing base of non-English speaking minorities. Expect to see more popular Spanish songs as Hispanics make up a greater proportion of the American population.

Find out when a foreign song last topped the Billboard 100, why the Macarena doesn’t count, what a foreign language artist has to do if they want to remain popular in the United States, and the dominance of English in the Eurovision over here.

Source: Slate