Burning Salsa by Jason Pacheco

For Christmas I gave a friend a burned CD. I was only interested in giving him one song but I figured since I was making a CD I might was well just make a full CD. So I made it and printed my play-list. (Making a CD without a play-list is right up there with drinking out of the carton on the inconsiderate scale) That night I handed the CD to my friend and he giggled upon looking at the cover. Without realizing it, I printed the title “Purchased Music.” Now my friend could have been laughing because he thought I was trying not to look cheap. More than likely he was probably laughing because I’m a big advocate of buying music. Truth is I wasn’t trying to make a point, it was an accident; but I wish I had. Actually I AM big advocate for buying salsa music. I feel that salsa music will only be kept alive if the small market we have supports it.

I went to Presidential Towers this past week in Chicago because Jimmy Bosh was in town promoting his new CD. He is by far and away my favorite salsa musician. There he was chilling at a small table selling his album “El Avion De La Salsa”. (Arguably the best salsa album this year.) He was giving autographs, taking pictures and jamming with the local band here and there. To me, this is the equivalent of having Prince promoting himself. In my mind he is a great musician with so much energy and talent that I’m always torn between dancing or just watching in awe. Not a single person dared to bring a burned copy of his album to be autographed.

I don’t believe that burning music is burglary but I also don’t think it is completely harmless. I feel that burning music has its place and there are benefits, especially when you consider that there is no mainstream salsa music station. Trading music and downloading music gives it a chance to be exposed. However, exposure will never get it on the Radio or on MTV. Also, salsa music goes so far back that it’s hard to even find music. The drawbacks are that unlike radio there is no reimbursement to the performing artist every time someone burns a song. So you have great performers and musicians reduced to begging people to buy their music.

Personally I believe that the majority of music you have should be purchased. I burn music and download music all the time. But anyone can tell you that more than 50% of the music I have has been paid for through legitimate means. That being said I have a lot of music or songs that I don’t listen to. I have bought quite a few albums only to like a few cuts or none that really appeal to me. For people who don’t have the budget to pay $10 to $15 for one song there are plenty of legal sites where you can buy songs for $1. My dream is that Descarga.com will buy out Itunes and my life will be perfect. The foundation of the salsa-dancing scene is the music. Without the music every other topic or point is moot. We can’t be inspired without it. We can’t move without it. We can’t argue about it. Until the day I see Jimmy Bosch, Angel Melendez and John Santos on MTV showing off their Bentleys I’m going to feel a twinge of guilt when I receive or burn a song.