Latino Civil Rights Groups and Labels Blast SiriusXM’s Decision to Axe Majority of Latin Music Stations on their Satellite Broadcast

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, christina@balestramedia.com

Latino Civil Rights Groups and Labels Blast SiriusXM’s Decision to Axe Majority of Latin Music Stations on their Satellite Broadcast

Today, a coalition of civil rights groups, record labels and artist advocacy organizations  representing Latino listeners and artists are demanding that SiriusXM take immediate action to offer satellite-broadcast music stations that include more Latino voices and culturally relevant programming after they terminated 8 out of 10 of the Latin music channels on their satellite platform over the last few months. SiriusXM did so with little notice to listeners, labels, or artists. One of the two remaining Latin stations dedicates significant airtime to non-Latin artists, and the severe programming changes on the platform have relegated entire genres, including Regional Mexican, Reggaeton, Latin Rock, Salsa, Latin Pop and Latin Jazz, to online-only broadcast–no longer available in cars.

The coalition is asking for SiriusXM to to restore a number of Latin channels to satellite broadcast on regular SiriusXM car radios, and to make wide-appealing stations such as Aguila (Regional Mexican) and La Kueva (Latin Rock) available to subscribers with the basic car radios, and to improve the overall quality of the Latin music channel programming.

Read social media appeals to SiriusXM here: http://www.seriouslatinmusicproblem.com/2016/05/22/whatpeoplearesaying/.

This silencing of the diverse and rich musical cultures enjoyed by both Latinos and non-Latinos alike is unprecedented, and represents a significant setback to diversity in satellite radio when Latinos account for 17 percent of the country’s population. Mexican music is also noticeably absent from the current meager lineup–in stark contrast to the fact that 70 percent of the U.S. Latino population is of Mexican descent. Regional Mexican music is the top-selling Latin music genre in the United States, accounting for more than 50 percent of all Latin music sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan and the RIAA.

“SiriusXM’s decision to drastically reduce the availability of satellite channels serving Latino audiences harms Latino listeners, artists and anyone hoping to hear diverse content on its platform,” said Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.  “Given the increasing number of businesses embracing the significant market power of Latinos and public outcry for greater diversity in all forms of media, this move represents a puzzling failure to offer culturally relevant content to consumers who demand more–not fewer– options on every medium. Not long ago, SiriusXM convinced the Federal Communications Commission that granting it a monopoly over satellite radio would not harm diversity. However, SiriusXM has failed Latinos with its severe programming changes and we urge it to take immediate action to offer channels that reflect the rich cultural heritage of our communities.”

“Instead of embracing the second largest, youngest group of Americans, SiriusXM has chosen to silence Latino voices that can be heard on its satellite radio stations,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino. “SiriusXM’s decision to eliminate the satellite broadcast of 80% of their Latin music channels comes at a time when diversity in media is wanting. We know that music is a powerful means to shape our culture and give voice to those marginalized. At a time when Latinos are most misunderstood and fighting constant attacks, SiriusXM is turning their backs on us.”

“Future of Music Coalition has long appreciated Sirius XM’s eagerness to feature more diverse playlists and formats than commercial FM,” said Kevin Erickson, National Organizing Director at the Future of Music Coalition. “We were dismayed to learn that many Latin channels were removed from its satellite programming, greatly reducing the number and variety of Latin artists who can be heard.  Music’s incredible power is rooted in its ability to speak in many languages, voices, and traditions; forward-thinking music services and broadcasters should endeavor to reflect the full diversity of musical artists and audiences.”

“Regional Mexican music should not have to suffer at the expense of music providers who have not been successful at marketing their service to our audience,” said Luca Scalisi, President of Del Records. “Del Records is committed to the continued growth of the genre across all digital platforms including satellite radio.”

“SiriusXM’s decision to cancel 80% of their Latin music channels, at a time when Latinos are being politically attacked and culturally marginalized, seems to stand on the side of a short-sided world view,” stated Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “Music is a vital component of culture and, for Latinos, a source of great pride, expression and even a tool of resistance and liberation. Latinos comprise 17% of the U.S. population (about 50 million people) yet SiriusXM wants to reduce its satellite radio programming to only 2 Latin music channels?”

The Latin Label Coalition is united in demanding that SiriusXM acknowledge the market power of Latinos in the U.S., immediately commit to increased programmatic diversity and restore greater culturally-relevant programming. Labels include: AMS Records (Regional Mexican); CDA Group (Tropical / Reggaeton); Cosmica Records (Latin Pop / Latin Rock); Del Records (Regional Mexican); Diva Music Group (Latin Rock / Regional Mexican); Grupo Nueva Generacion (Regional Mexican); Jazzheads  (Latin Jazz); Nacional Records (Latin Rock / Latin Pop); Pop Art Discos (Latin Rock); Regalia Records (Regional Mexican / Latin Rock); Seitrack   (Latin Pop / Latin Rock); and Six Degrees (World / Latin).

Groups supporting the Latin Label Coalition are: A2IM (American Association of Independent Music); Future of Music Coalition; NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers); National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON); Voto Latino  (leading Latino youth civil rights organization); and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC).

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