In Italy, music lovers are reconnecting with local sounds

maneskin etx afp

Italian rock band Maneskin pose on the red carpet as they arrive for the MTV Europe Music Awards at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary on Nov. 14, 2021. Image: AFP/Attila Kisbenedek

Italian music has conquered the world’s airwaves only on rare occasions. The country’s artists found relative success internationally in the eras of italo-disco and eurodance, but didn’t really win over their compatriots. Now, those days are over, it seems.

According to the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI), all the records in the top 10 of the most listened to albums in the country are sung in Italian. Among them are “Taxi Driver” by Rkomi, “Sangiovanni” by the artist of the same name and “Teatro d’ira – Vol. I” by Måneskin. The same goes for the ranking of the country’s most popular songs in 2021. It is dominated by local talents like Blanco and Madame.

And the phenomenon goes beyond the artists topping the country’s charts. In fact, 479 albums from 302 artists passed the symbolic 10 million streams mark in 2021. In comparison, only 134 albums by 105 artists exceeded the equivalent threshold of 10,000 copies sold 10 years earlier.

Italian music experiences the dolce vita

“In what was still a complicated year, we witnessed the strong affirmation of Italian music on the international scene and the ongoing artistic generational transformation in our country,” said Enzo Mazza, CEO of FIMI, in a statement. “This year’s results reveal the important behind-the-scenes work of the record companies, which have put all the new technologies at the service of music, which is constantly evolving in the era of streaming.”

This new popularity of Italian music extends beyond the borders of the country. Local artists like Mahmood and Måneskin have become media darlings in the Mediterranean basin. In the summer of 2019, the singer from the outskirts of Milan finished second in the Eurovision Song Contest. Two years later, the Italian rock band won the European competition, ahead of French entry, Barbara Pravi.

Following this victory, Måneskin was propelled into the Spotify’s global Top 10 thanks to their song “Zitti e Buoni.'” They were even praised by the New York Times, which pondered whether the band could “conquer the world” despite the language barrier. In any case, nothing seems to get in the way of the band, and Italian music in general. JB

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