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NEAR TRUTHS: ELLOS BAILAN JUNTOS

Any substantive conversation about the present state of the biz will prominently feature how successful the burgeoning Latin market has become, as exemplified by its commanding presence on the U.S. and global streaming charts.

Superstars like Bad Bunny, Peso Pluma (who appears on three of the top four tracks on Spotify’s global chart at press time), KAROL G and Eslabon Armado dominate the DSP leader boards, and new stars are emerging all the time. It’s therefore top of mind for every U.S. label CEO to figure out how to get their piece of the action.

For years, this market was dominated by Afo Verde’s Sony Music Latin and Jesús López and Angel Kaminsky-led UMLE. Not until the stunning rise of The Orchard—thanks to its expansive distribution network and innovative dealmaking—did the game change, as Latin entrepreneurs had another big option on the menu.

Overseen by Brad Navin with canny partnership curation from Jason Pascal, The Orchard was aggressive in pursuing this market, with eye-popping results: Their 20+ marketshare makes up almost half of market leader Sony’s 44% overall share.

Universal still holds a whopping 33% of that overall U.S. share as Virgin, Ingrooves and their frontline majors all vie for a bigger piece of the cake than ever before. Exhibit A in this regard: Interscope’s freshly announced deal with Karol G, a major coup for John Janick, EVP Nir Seroussi and team.

The big questions on biz peeps’ minds: How far has this music crossed over? Are suburban teens embracing it and helping drive these colossal stream counts? Has it become part of the mindset of today’s youth, who are now so globally attuned to social, political and cultural nuances—and for whom geographical boundaries are less relevant than ever?

According to a recent report, Spanish is spoken at home among 14% of the 330m U.S. population—the breakdown by major markets is also instructive: Miami leads with 68%, followed by L.A. (45%), Houston (40%), Dallas (30%), Chicago and New York (both 20%).

It’s a major priority for WMG, insiders say, to aggressively expand the share of Alejandro Duque-led Warner Music Latina (which has latterly re-emerged as a player) and of its majors in the market beyond their present 7%. Historically, the company never paid that much attention to Latin and other global markets the way the other majors did.

Many trace this back to the days of Warner’s biggest successes, which issued from Anglophone U.S. and U.K. repertoire. The houses that Mo Ostin and Ahmet Ertegun built were based primarily on domestic material and picking up hot acts and labels from the U.K., which always had a thriving indie culture. Case in point: From 1998-2004, Warner was distributed internationally by EMI, while EMI itself, Sony, Universal and PolyGram were all developing global repertoire.

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THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIG 4
On your Marks, get set, go. (7/8a)
ON THE COVER:
CHAPPELL ROAN
Half of Island's one-two punch (7/15a)
AUSTIN NEAL STICKS THE LANDING
These two are tight. (7/15a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
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AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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