Afo Verde, chairman/CEO of Sony Music Latin-Iberia, has leveraged innovative business partnerships and personal relationships with artists to achieve success — and leads Billboard’s most extensive list of executive honorees in the genre to date.
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Afo Verde is sitting in a brightly lit conference room in Sony’s Manhattan headquarters, texting with Rosalía. The Catalonian singer, songwriter, dancer and all-around dynamo was in São Paulo, the night before, performing in front of some 8,000 people on her Motomami world tour, and now she’s in Buenos Aires, in Verde’s native Argentina, with some time to kill before she plays two nights back to back at the city’s Movistar Arena. “Last night she killed it in Brazil; now she’s in Buenos Aires, asking me, ‘Where can I have great pasta?’ ” Verde says with a laugh. “I’m sending her recommendations.”
Restaurant reviews for South American cities aren’t typically among the services offered in standard recording contracts. But Verde, the chairman/CEO of Sony Music Latin-Iberia for the past decade, doesn’t run his company like a typical record label, and his artists often don’t sign typical contracts.
Over the past several years, Verde has instead positioned Sony Latin as more of a central hub for creativity, with a web of intertwined contractual connections with many top Latin acts through a variety of deals and associations (an approach he’s able to take, he says, “because of a person called Rob Stringer” — and the Sony Music Group chairman’s ethos of “a music company trying to do the right things”).
Read Billboard’s full profile on Latin executive of the year Afo Verde here.
President, Warner Music Latin America
Roberto Andrade Dirak
Managing director, Warner Music Latina
Senior vp of marketing and strategy, Warner Music Latina
Senior vp/head of A&R, Latin music, Warner Music Latina
GM, Music Mexicana/Warner Music Latina
Vp of business development, Warner Music Latina
It has been a year of change for Warner, with Duque taking over as president and bringing new members to his executive team — including Orjuela, Vaccari and Andrade Dirak — and promoting Rivera and Abraham. The musical results include Anitta becoming the first Brazilian artist to top Billboard’s Global Excl. U.S. chart with “Envolver,” and the signing of up-and-coming talent Tiago PZK, Ovy on the Drums and Elena Rose, as well as Paulo Londra, who reached No. 2 on Spotify’s Global chart with his comeback single, “Plan A.” The label also partnered with Meta, the company previously known as Facebook, to make the first music video created in the metaverse for Colombian rapper Blessd. While Warner is bullish on young, urban sounds, the label is also vested in regional Mexican, signing new stars DannyLux, Beto Vega and Jesús Mendoza, plus the iconic band Pesado.
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
President, Universal Music Latino
CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
Managing director, Fonovisa-Disa
Senior vp of A&R, Universal Music Latino
Salomon Palacios III
Senior vp of marketing and artist strategy, Universal Music Latino
Universal Music Latin Entertainment remains focused on its global development strategy, with success across multiple countries and platforms. Sebastián Yatra (managed by Universal-owned GTS) moved into the mainstream with his Academy Award-nominated performance of “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, while his album Dharma started at No. 1 on Spotify’s Global Debut chart. Karol G has risen to global stardom, becoming the first woman since Selena to hold Nos. 1 and 2 simultaneously on the Hot Latin Songs chart. She has also sold out her Latin America arena tour, played Coachella and will make her acting debut alongside Sofia Vergara in the upcoming Netflix series Griselda. Fellow Colombian and singer-songwriter Feid is also on the rise, with 1.3 million official on-demand streams in one week, according to Luminate, for his latest album, while superstar J Balvin joined Justin Bieber as the artist with the most “billion-view” videos and had hit collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Indian artist Badshah. In Spain, pop star Aitana has been the most listened-to artist on Spotify for two years running and is prepping tours in Mexico, Argentina and the United States. As part of its commitment to artist development, UMLE has partnered with Julio Reyes Copello’s Art House Academy to release music by its first five graduates.
Chairman/ CEO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Executive vp/CFO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
President, Sony Music U.S. Latin
Senior vp of strategic market development, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Senior vp of artist relations and marketing, Sony Music U.S. Latin
Vp of digital business, Sony Music U.S. Latin
Read Billboard‘s full profile on Latin executive of the year Afo Verde here.
CEO, Symphonic Distribution
Brea says that Symphonic Distribution secured $37 million in new series B investments in January from NewSpring, Ballast Point Ventures and others. The technology-driven music services company has since expanded its operations to Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Africa, plus grown further in the Caribbean and Brazil, according to Brea. The distributor’s other recent newsworthy ventures include a recent women mentorship program, spearheaded by vp of corporate marketing Janette Berrios, which will involve senior executives from Symphonic, Amazon Music, Spotify, the American Association of Independent Music, YouTube Music, Songtrust, Audiomack and Atlantic Records.
Senior vps of global artist and label partnerships, The Orchard
Senior vps of Latin, The Orchard
The Sony-owned global distribution company boasts nearly 25% of the U.S. Latin market as of July 21, according to Luminate, with artists including superstar Bad Bunny. The Orchard has contributed to the growth of Federico Lauria’s Dale Play Records, which it has represented since 2019, helping it become one of the leading independent labels in Latin America, says Tesoriero. The Orchard’s representatives on the ground in Buenos Aires, Miami, Madrid and Barcelona were able to locally support the label’s success. Most recently, “Quevedo: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52” topped both the Global 200 and Global Excl. U.S. charts. The single is a collaboration between Spain’s Quevedo and Dale Play artist Bizarrap from Buenos Aires. Its global success is “a first for any Argentine artist,” says Tesoriero, “and we know it won’t be the last.”
CEO, Industria Works/Nacional Records
Founded 23 years ago by Cookman, the Latin Alternative Music Conference this year included both virtual and in-person sessions, with the former taking place in April and the latter — a sold-out “industry-heavy, must-attend event,” says Cookman — staged in New York in July. Aside from the success of the conference (including a notable uptick in sponsors), Cookman says that revenue for his label and entertainment company has doubled in each of the past two years and continues to grow. (The company does not report specific revenue figures.) Case in point: Its booking division has expanded with the signings of Trueno and Villano Antillano, and Cookman says the company will soon cross the 1 billion audio streams mark.
Co-founder/president, Cinq Music Group
“We recently raised $100 million for investment into music catalogs and original content, primarily in the Latin industry,” Daffurn says of his independent distribution, label and publishing company, Cinq Music Group. The focus will be on creating more original content and purchasing more music rights to both recordings — including masters and publishing — adding to a list that already includes the catalog of label Beluga Heights, containing works from Daddy Yankee, Janet Jackson, Jason Derulo and T.I.
Managing director, Brazil, Ingrooves Music Group
São Paulo-based Falcão, who began her career in finance and consulting before moving into music publishing, was named managing director at Universal Music Group-owned Ingrooves in January 2020. Her all-female team in Brazil has signed more than 50 deals in the past year, and she is especially proud of working with funk label GR6 founder and CEO Rodrigo Oliveira “to help put Brazilian funk on the map.” The single “Bipolar,” from GR6 artists MC Davi, MC Pedrinho and MC Don Juan, was the only Brazilian song to appear on TikTok’s top 20 most-used songs in 2021, generating over 4 billion views, she says, and it was one of Spotify’s top songs of 2021.
President, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, Latin America & Iberian Peninsula
Since his appointment in early 2021 as president for Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, reporting to UMG’s Jesús López, González has opened Virgin Music operations with A&R and marketing structures in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, the Andean region and the U.S. Latin market. “It has been exhausting, but we did it and now we can exponentially multiply the deals we have,” he says. Highlights of his work include negotiating a worldwide agreement with the estate of Juan Gabriel and deals with producer Sebastian Krys’ Rebeleon Entertainment, Bull Nene’s God Willing and Sky’s Black Koi. “Botella Tras Botella” by Christian Nodal and Gera MX became the first regional Mexican song to enter the Billboard Hot 100.
José Ángel Hernández
CEO, Flow La Movie
Hernández, who died last December in a plane crash at 38 years old, leaves behind a legacy of reggaetón hits. Under the moniker Flow La Movie (which is also the name of his label and management company), he produced chart-toppers like the 2018 hit “Te Boté” — by his artists Nío García and Cásper Mágico, with a remix featuring Bad Bunny, Nicky Jam and Ozuna — which spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs, as well as García’s 2019 viral hit “La Jeepeta.” J Balvin teamed up with García and Bad Bunny to record “AM Remix,” co-produced by Hernández, which went to No. 4 on Hot Latin Songs. Hernández was one of seven passengers on a private plane that crashed Dec. 15 as it sought to make an emergency landing at Las Américas International Airport near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, according to Helidosa Aviation Group, which operated the Gulfstream aircraft. Hernández’s partner, Debbie Von Marie Jimenez Garcia, and their children were also among the victims. In the immediate wake of the crash, artists who had worked with Hernández offered their tributes. “What a tragedy!” wrote Spanish artist Juan Magán. “A man and his family conquering the world, it wasn’t their turn to go. RIP Flow.” Don Omar reacted: “So sad for your loss and your family’s. Thank you for the opportunity to collaborate. Fly high, see you later.” Balvin took to social media to say: “José Ángel, thanks for your good vibes always. Rest in peace.” GLAD Empire CEO Camille Soto Malave, who distributed Flow La Movie repertoire, described Hernández as “one of the producers with the most hits in our [Latin urban] genre and an inspiration for younger generations.”
Co-owner/CEO, Rancho Humilde
Jimmy Humilde has transformed Rancho Humilde, whose roster includes chart-topper Natanael Cano and Fuerza Regida, into one of the industry’s leading independent Mexican music companies. It has expanded its global reach through a distribution deal with Sony for Fuerza Regida, struck touring deals with Live Nation and formed a new partnership with Amazon for Desde Abajo, a TV show, “about the life of a Mexican American” that is scheduled to be released next year, he says. “My goal is to take this music to every corner of the world and to break down any barrier for all the artists.”
CEO, Saban Music Group
Saban has propelled the career of reggaetón star Don Omar to new heights, sending him to No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart for the first time in five years with his Nío García collaboration, “Se Menea” — and then six months later, his Wisin y Yandel collaboration, “Soy Yo,” reached the same peak. Under Lopez’s leadership, Saban also closed multiplatform branding deals for the singer Chesca.
Andres López Quiroga
Regional director, ONErpm
ONErpm has been transformed from a distribution company to a full-service music brand during the last year, helping artists grow through state-of-the-art technology, marketing and analytics tools, as well as full transparency with clients, says Quiroga. Additionally, the Latin Iberia market has played a major role in ONErpm’s recent success with consolidation across the region. “Our tools continue to help our team of experts in each country make more informed decisions in a very competitive music industry,” Quiroga says, “helping partners in every stage of their careers.”
RichMusic has been on a signing spree to add emerging artists to its roster. Most recently, the Miami-based company welcomed Colombian producer Animal; paopao, the label’s first female signee; producer-songwriter Symon Dice; and up-and-coming Argentine singer Thyago. “The dream has gotten bigger and has become more than we ever imagined,” says Mendez, who founded the label with his father, Rich Mendez, in 2007. “We dug into the company’s core foundation, strengthening and growing our team.” RichMusic also renewed its multimillion-dollar global recording and publishing deal with Panamanian star Sech, known for his anthemic reggaetón songs such as “Otro Trago” and “Relación.”
Founder/CEO, AfinArte Music
Over the past year, AfinArte artists reached new heights, including regional Mexican duo Los Dos Carnales, who won a Latin Grammy Award for their album Al Estilo Rancherón. Also home to such superstars as El Fantasma and Voz de Mando, the company expanded its genre (and geographic) reach in June with the launch of the urban label ArteFino Music. “The amount of talent out there right now is inspiring,” says Sanchez, “and seeing the passion these rising artists have for their craft motivates us to find new ways to support them.”
President, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services
As president of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, Saturn has built out the company’s U.S. Latin department, clocking 500 million streams by midyear “with our small but mighty roster,” she says. That roster includes Grupo Diez 4tro (Cut Throat Music), whose May album release, Consejos de la Vida, landed at No. 1 on Apple Music’s Regional Mexican chart; Omy de Oro (Young Boss Entertainment), whose “Mood” remix hit No. 1 on Puerto Rican radio; and Chucky73 (Sie7tr3), who scored a synch placement in the film In the Heights — “the only non-Lin Manuel Miranda original song in the movie,” says Saturn.
Global head of artist, label and market strategy, ADA Worldwide
After signing a global deal with Quevedo, a reggaetón singer from the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, Warner Music-owned ADA Worldwide had a hit with this year’s remix of “Cayó La Noche,” which features multiple artists including Quevedo. He’s also the featured act on “Quevedo: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” a collaboration with Dale Play artist Bizarrap from Argentina, which topped the Global 200 and Global Excl. U.S. charts. “We’ve really focused on local expertise and championing talent at an unprecedented level,” says Sein, a former Columbia Records executive hired by ADA Worldwide in September 2021 to provide international, companywide support for the distributor’s many artists.
Executive vp of Latin, Interscope Geffen A&M Records
Seroussi’s Latin division at Interscope has propelled the global careers of Colombian singer-songwriter DEKKO (more than 6 million monthly Spotify listeners) and ROBI from Puerto Rico (who is featured alongside Feid and Alejo on “Pantysito”); partnered last year with rapper Tokischa of the Dominican Republic and the label Paulus Music, to which she is signed; and expanded into Mexican music with singer-songwriter Xavi. Seroussi also struck deals with VPS Music and Grand Records and signed Canary Islands singer Ptazeta, a leading voice in the LGBTQ+ community. “This isn’t just a focus for 2022,” Seroussi says of the label’s growing diversity. “This is the blueprint for our business going forward.”
Camille Marie Soto Malave
CEO, GLAD Empire
Soto Malave helps drive the success of some of Latin music’s most acclaimed superstars, including Nio Garcia, Casper Magico, Myke Towers, Ozuna and Anuel AA. She handles Ozuna’s Aura Music publishing department and acts as label manager for Anuel AA’s label, Real Hasta La Muerte, overseeing day-to-day operations alongside Frabian Eli Carrión. Company high points include Towers earning his fifth No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart in June 2021 with “Bandido” (with Juhn) and expanding its Orlando, Fla., facilities to almost 20,000 square feet. GLAD Empire is using the new media space for livestreaming, private concerts, podcasts and producing content for its new video channel, GLAD TV. Earlier this year, the company also introduced a gaming facility to “create and monetize gaming content,” says Soto Malave.
Co-founder/CEO, Rimas Entertainment
Assad, Billboard’s 2021 Latin Executive of the Year, is on a record-breaking streak. His marquee client Bad Bunny again topped the Billboard 200 with Un Verano Sin Ti, which spent nine nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1. Bad Bunny remains the only artist to place all-Spanish albums (plural) atop the all-genre chart. His tour for the album El Último Tour del Mundo played arenas across North America from February to April, grossing $116.8 million and selling 575,000 tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore, ranking at No. 1 on the midyear 2022 Top Tours chart. And now, he has begun a global stadium tour, in addition to entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the lead in the stand-alone comic film El Muerto, due out in January 2024. Another marquee client, Karol G, is starting an arena tour after wrapping up filming her first Netflix series. And there’s a roster of Rimas acts, including Eladio Carrión and Mora, that are beginning to chart.
After launching its producer-management division, Borrero’s NEON16 took on representation of four of the top 10 Latin producers on the Billboard charts, negotiated an eight-figure catalog sale for Tainy and contributed nine songs on Bad Bunny’s chart-topping Un Verano Sin Ti. Borrero also moved the company into TV with Los Montaners, a new docuseries for Disney+, and La Firma, Netflix’s first Latin music competition show, both under his new Ntertain production company.
CEO, Elite Media & Marketing/AP Global
“The company is ecstatic right now about all the tours we have been working on,” says Casals, noting U.S. runs for stars Ozuna, Jay Wheeler and Rauw Alejandro. The veteran marketer-promoter says his company EMM has also been “experimenting with new genres” including regional Mexican by promoting a forthcoming Carin Leon show at Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla. Meanwhile, his Sony Latin-distributed record label, AP Global, has had chart success with releases from Wheeler and emerging artists Ache (“Ya Es Tarde”) and Dvila (“Quiero Fingir”).
Co-founder, MTW Agency
Over the last year, Dotel has succeeded in live music, original content and brand partnerships. Dotel created, promoted, booked and financed dembow artist Chimbala’s sold-out concert in March in New York, featuring iconic acts like El Alfa and Zion y Lennox, moving the genre further into the mainstream. Dotel also created and owns the Amazon-exclusive video podcast En La Sala, hosted by Venezuelan actress Evaluna Montaner, which has scored interviews with Camilo, Sebastián Yatra and Becky G, among others. Dotel has also worked on brand partnerships for Bad Bunny — she and business partner Matt Ferrigno started negotiations with adidas in 2018 and launched a first shoe in March 2021 — as well as Becky G and Romeo Santos.
Founder/CEO, WK Entertainment; founder/owner, WK Records/WKMX
CEO, WK Records
Kolm, one of Latin music’s most prominent managers — with a client list that includes Maluma, Carlos Vives, Wisin, CNCO, Prince Royce and Emilia — has ambitiously expanded beyond his entertainment and management company. WK Records, launched in July 2020, with Rodriguez at the helm, is a “content company where we develop new careers,” says Kolm, delineating the difference between it and the established WK Entertainment roster.
The label has signed nearly 30 up-and-coming acts and has already placed two No. 1s on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart: “Mi Niña” by Wisin and Myke Towers and “Fiel” by Wisin and Jhay Cortez. WK Records, which includes the regional Mexican music imprint WKMX, also provides services to Wisin’s label, La Base Records, and to Royalty Records, Maluma’s newly launched imprint. Beyond the label expansion, and in a bid for increasing global market share, WK Entertainment opened an office in Madrid to serve the European and Asian markets, while WK Records opened outposts in Mexico and most recently Brazil.
“In a globalized touring market, coupled with the expansion of Latin music worldwide,” Kolm says, “we felt there was an important opportunity to grow our business.”
WK Entertainment’s artists are signed to Sony Music, and WK Records’ artists are distributed by The Orchard. Beyond that, what is the difference between the two?
WK Entertainment is a 360 company that provides services to artists in management, booking and all commercial areas, including sponsorships and endorsements. WK Records is a content company where we develop careers and provide services to the labels that belong to Wisin and Maluma. We’re partners. They do their own A&R, sign their own artists and own their labels in full, but we provide essential marketing and administrative services.
What makes your business different from that of other Latin managers or managers overall who have launched their own labels?
We have complete independence in terms of our business management. We don’t outsource anything. From Madrid, for example, we handle booking for Asia and Miami. And from Miami, we handle everything in Latin America. Although we do business with agencies, 95% of our bookings and our sponsorship deals are generated and handled in-house. This gives the artist a structure where there is a single company that oversees everything from within. From a management standpoint, it goes hand in hand with bookings and endorsement. The best offer is not necessarily the best business; the best business has to do with the artist’s growth and long-term development.
You opened offices in Madrid, with Pascual Egea in charge. Can you share an example of what that means for your business?
We opened a shop in Madrid mid-2017, and since then our business in Europe has grown fivefold. We have an office there whose sole role is to find and book concerts and generate partnerships with local promoters in every country. It’s the same formula we had executed for Latin America from our Miami office, partnering with the likes of OCESA in Mexico and Bizarro in Chile. This year, for example, Maluma played 31 concerts in 16 European cities and sold 320,000 tickets.
What were your biggest accomplishments in the past 12 months?
Maluma’s Medellín concert [in Colombia] for more than 50,000 people was very big for us. It was also a livestream for the world on Amazon Prime, which was seen by over 1.5 million people. Wisin & Yandel’s tour, which we booked in partnership with Yandel’s management, has been truly sensational; we had to extend the tour through 2023. On the label side, our biggest accomplishment is the expansion of WK into Brazil. We felt language is no longer a barrier. A lot of Latin music truly has a connection with Brazil.
What is your business philosophy?
We work for the artist as a brand to ensure that he or she is always current, regardless of whether there is a hit on the charts. That has been the key to our success.
Founder/CEO, Dale Play Records/Lauria Entertainment
Serving as the music executive behind artists including Nicki Nicole, Duki and Bizarrap, Lauria is proud that Quevedo’s collaboration with Bizarrap, “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” reached No. 1 on the Global 200 and Global Excl. U.S. charts. Dale Play Records and Lauria Entertainment reached another milestone when trap artist Duki sold out four nights at Jose Amalfitani Stadium in Buenos Aires, selling more than 180,000 tickets total. Argentine trap act Nicki Nicole made her Coachella debut and has a deal to appear as a judge on the upcoming Netflix music competition show La Firma.
President/CEO, Lizos Music
Banda MS’ performance at Coachella was a milestone in mainstream recognition for both the Sinaloan band and the regional Mexican genre overall, as well as a career highlight for Lizárraga, who had secured the performance in 2020. Adding to the wins of the year, Lizárraga’s Lizos Music welcomed singer-songwriter Edén Muñoz to its roster. Muñoz, Calibre 50’s former frontman and accordionist, signed with the independent label in January after leaving the norteño band to launch a solo career. He has since scored two back-to-back No. 1s on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart with “Chale” and the Banda MS collaboration “Hay Que Hacer Dinero.”
Andrés “Andy” Martínez
Co-founder, JAK Entertainment
In the past year, Martínez, who manages Yandel, worked alongside Walter Kolm to launch Wisin y Yandel’s La Ultima Misión tour. He also collaborated with Tainy’s manager Lex Borrero as part of the team strategizing the rollout for Tainy and Yandel’s July 2021 album, Dynasty. At the same time, Martínez has helped to develop tropical salsa singer Luis Vázquez, book tours for Myke Towers in Europe and the United States, and is nurturing rising artists through Rapetón Approved — a partnership of Yandel’s label, Y Entertainment Records, Angel “El Guru” Vera and Warner Music Latina.
President, Carbon Fiber Music
Martinez’s key client and business partner, Farruko, garnered the biggest hit of his career last year with “Pepas.” The track spent 26 weeks at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs, making it the fifth longest-running No. 1 song since the chart’s inception. Now, says Martinez, he and Farruko are aiming at making music with positive intent. “My biggest challenge is to get a record that’s as big as ‘Pepas’ but with a positive message,” says Martinez. “We can change the atmosphere and many other things if we let ourselves get used by God’s power,” says the executive, who, aside from managing Farruko, has eight artists and four producers signed to his label.
CEO, OCESA Seitrack
President, Seitrack US
“It has been a great year for us,” says Pagani, highlighting Los Ángeles Azules’ first Latin Grammy Award nomination in 2021 and sold-out South American tour. With Seitrack’s expansion into the regional Mexican genre, Pagani is also “excited for the months ahead” with the start of Joss Favela’s first U.S. tour in the fall alongside Jessi Uribe, as well as Yuridia’s new album, produced by Edén Muñoz and featuring collaborations with Banda MS and Ángela Aguilar. Seitrack has also grown its roster, betting on up-and-coming talents such as Michelle Maciel, The Change, Virlán García and Sofía Delfino, and recently adding Alejandro Sanz to its list of management clients.
President/CEO, La Buena Fortuna Global/La Buena Fortuna Music
Montalvo has consistently expanded his roster of management clients through La Buena Fortuna Global and label clients through La Buena Fortuna Music. But he says Kany García’s international career takeoff has been the “most rewarding to see and be part of.” For the first time in her career, the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter is selling out theaters and venues in different countries and cities, with a loyal and blossoming fan base. “For her to be able to do it as a cantautora — a woman in a male-dominated genre and industry — has been nothing short of greatness,” he says.
Éric “Duars” Pérez
Founder/CEO, Duars Entertainment
The album Vice Versa by Duars Entertainment artist Rauw Alejandro debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart in July 2021 and has remained in the top 10 for 60 weeks and counting. The set contains Alejandro’s biggest hit to date, “Todo de Ti,” which peaked at No. 2 on Hot Latin Songs in 2021 and topped Latin Airplay for three weeks. It also became his first entry as a solo act, unaccompanied by any other artist, on the Hot 100.
“To achieve what I achieved with Rauw, you need to have an artist like Rauw,” says Éric “Duars” Pérez, the artist’s manager and CEO of Duars Entertainment. “Someone who’s disciplined, dedicated, very responsible and a visionary in the sense that he not only brings ideas to the table but also accepts the ideas I give him.”
When Pérez discovered Alejandro online in 2016, he quickly offered him a multifaceted deal. Two years later, then-Sony Music U.S. Latin president Nir Seroussi helped Duars reach an agreement with Sony’s independent distribution company, The Orchard, and in 2020, Duars signed a joint venture with Sony Music U.S. Latin, which became a label partner for Alejandro.
“I define it as an alliance where we go hand in hand and have great communication, all benefiting Rauw’s project,” Pérez says, calling Sony Music U.S. Latin president Alex Gallardo someone he “highly respects and a great leader. We are negotiating to do more things together.”
In 2021, Pérez co-produced (with Zamora Live and Elite Media & Marketing) Alejandro’s world tour with sold-out dates in major markets like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, as well as stops in Spain, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. He notes that his role in the tour has him “going beyond artist management and record-label executive.”
That tour concluded in July. However, Pérez is already planning to produce Alejandro’s 2023 tour across such countries as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Latin America under his new division, Duars Live, which he created in April and will officially launch in November.
“It’s an experience and understanding that the market is different for fans,” he says. “Producing an event is totally different from selling it. When you produce it, you become the promoter and you want fans to leave happy and demand to see the artist in concert again.”
Pérez plans to launch various projects in the fall for his other label signees Cauty, Eix, Sie7e, Sanchz and Itzza Primera. “Every project is completely different and has its own identity. We will focus on what we like to do, which is good music and for the artist to connect with [their] audience,” he says.
Additionally, Pérez helms Duars Publishing, with a roster that includes Alejandro, Eix, Eliel, Mr. NaisGai and Jey Music.
“I always see things from everyone’s point of view,” says Pérez. “Aside from the manager, I’m their main mentor, and if I don’t get in my artist’s shoes, I’m never going to give them good advice. I’m always analyzing my artists and their fans, and I believe that’s what sets me apart from others.”
CEO, Magnus Media
COO, Magnus Media
Magnus artists and songwriters peppered the charts with hits last year: Rafa Pabón co-wrote Rauw Alejandro’s “Todo de Ti,” which topped Latin Airplay for three weeks; Manuel Lara and Cris Chill had a hand in Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía,” a multiweek No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs; and Luis Figueroa scored three No. 1s on Tropical Songs. At the same time, new signee Micro TDH launched his first worldwide tour, while Marc Anthony sold over 200,000 tickets during a monthlong run in Europe. Plus, Gente de Zona’s collaboration “Patria y Vida” took home song of the year honors at the 2021 Latin Grammy Awards.
Founder, Vibras Lab/Akela Family Music
Acosta credits “consistency and persistence” for the success of his company, Vibras Lab. Acosta is the manager for J Balvin and Argentine trap artist Cazzu, and his company provides business management advice to other artists including Grupo Firme and Karol G. Vibras Lab is committed to increasing the visibility of Latin voices with a diverse range of brands, says Acosta. In addition to forging Balvin’s partnerships with Fortnite, Miller Lite and Guess, the company helped make the singer the first Latin artist with his own Monopoly game. “We continuously seek multifaceted opportunities to push the envelope and engage fans in new and exciting ways,” says Acosta.
Frabian Eli Carrión
President, Real Hasta La Muerte; manager (Anuel AA)
A sneaker deal with Reebok and a double play with two major sporting events — the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game — are just a few of the top placements and endorsement deals that Carrión has secured for Puerto Rican sensation Anuel AA. “Very few Latinos have been a part of that experience,” says Carrión, who is also president of his label, Real Hasta La Muerte. In 2021, Capitanes de Arecibo — the Puerto Rican basketball team Carrión co-owns with Anuel AA — won the Baloncesto Superior Nacional championships, and Anuel became an official marketing partner of the UFC.
CEO, FPM Entertainment
Hot off four Latin Grammy wins and three awards at this year’s Premios lo Nuestro, Colombian singer-songwriter and FPM client Camilo began a 2022 tour in Spain that has already sold over 200,000 tickets, after becoming the top ticket-selling international artist in Spain last year. Camilo kicked off his first U.S. arena tour in August. Another FPM client, Argentine singer-actress Lali, wrapped filming for the Netflix series Sky Rojo this year, followed by sold-out dates from Argentina to Israel on her Disciplina Tour. Ferradas also manages Camilo’s wife, Evaluna Montaner, and most recently signed Spanish rapper Rels B to a co-management deal with Fede Lauria.
Vp of Latin entertainment/senior manager, Red Light Management
After rescheduling Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin’s 2020 co-headlining North American tour for 2021, the 25-date outing featuring the two superstars ended up as one of the highlights of the year, despite the challenges, says Iglesias manager Giaccardi. “We were the first post-pandemic arena show in Toronto, Montreal and a few cities in the U.S.,” he says. “We were playing against all the odds. It is very satisfying that it ended up being the great success it was, playing for more than 350,000 people and grossing $36 million.”
Founder, Music VIP; manager (Grupo Firme)
Gutiérrez founded Music VIP in 2007 to carve a lane for himself after his father’s recording studio shut down in the early 2000s, and to help develop emerging regional Mexican acts. Today, Gutiérrez’s company is home to chart-topping and touring titan Grupo Firme, which he signed in 2018. Most recently, Firme wrapped its 2022 Enfiestados Y Amanecidos stadium tour in the U.S. — which included two back-to-back sold out shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. It followed a 2021 arena tour that grossed a whopping $18 million across 19 shows, according to Boxscore, including seven sold-out shows at the Crypto.com Arena, a record for a Latin act at the venue in a single calendar year.
CEO, Westwood Entertainment
Founder/chairman, Westwood Entertainment
With the return of live performances, Westwood Entertainment has focused on getting its managed artists on the road, including Camila and Sin Bandera’s successful co-headlining 4 Latidos tour. As promoters, Westwood has brought Karol G’s Bichota Tour Reloaded to Mexico and consulted on Justin Quiles’ summer trek in Europe. “We are focused on achieving new concerts and tours in Mexico,” says Juarez, highlighting Bad Bunny’s World’s Hottest Tour making stops at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City and at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey, both promoted by Westwood. As for the company’s management approach, “we like to expand [an artist’s] horizons by putting together flourishing collaborations with our other talents and by mixing different genres,” Juarez says, naming Matisse with Carin León, Reik with Ricky Martin and Llane with Khea as examples.
Manager (Sebastián Yatra); managing director, GTS U.S.
In addition to releasing his third studio album, Dharma — which peaked at No. 2 on the Latin Pop Albums chart in February — Sebastián Yatra collected a couple of career firsts in recent months. In March, the Colombian star performed his Academy Award-nominated ballad, “Dos Oruguitas” from the Encanto soundtrack, during the Oscars broadcast, while also making his debut as lead actor — starring in the Netflix musical comedy series Érase Una Vez. “It has been a great year for him so far,” says Kaminsky, who guides the careers of Yatra and Mariah Angeliq, among other talent. “GTS continues focusing on developing talent and securing opportunities for them,” she says, including Angeliq’s global Coca-Cola campaign and tour and Cali y El Dandee’s summer tour of Spain.
Founder/CEO, Lionfish Entertainment
Lionfish founder/CEO and Billboard’s 2020 Latin Executive of the Year Léon had another major year for star client Rosalía, whose Motomami album Léon calls “a labor of love for all involved,” and whose combination of critical acclaim (as the top-rated 2022 album on review-aggregating site Metacritic) and commercial success (debuting at No. 1 on Latin Pop Albums) she considers “so rewarding.” In addition to Rosalía’s success, Léon was proud to have “a heavy involvement” in the principally Latino cast of the Father of the Bride remake, which had the biggest streaming-only debut for HBO Max.
Founder, The Medina Company; partner, Nuyorican Productions
It has been a busy two years for Medina and longtime management client Jennifer Lopez, who performed at the 2021 Biden-Harris inauguration and starred in the Universal rom-com Marry Me, with Medina producing. The film’s soundtrack spun off the singles “Marry Me” with Maluma and “On My Way” — the latter winning best song at the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards, where Lopez also received the Generation Award. Medina produced Lopez’s Netflix documentary, Halftime, and serves as executive producer of the TV shows Good Trouble and Peacock’s Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air.
Juan Diego Medina
Founder/CEO, La Industria
Nicky Jam’s The Rockstar Show, which launched in 2021, marking his debut as a talk show host, is now streaming its second season on YouTube with artists such as Nicki Nicole and Tainy as guests. “We’re now preparing a third season, which will be even bigger than the first two,” says Medina, the hit-maker’s longtime manager. “These past years have been defiant, and we’ve had to reinvent ourselves.” The Colombian executive is also behind the careers of ChocQuibTown and Manuel Turizo and says upcoming plans include films produced alongside Will Smith.
Founder/CEO/artist manager, Grassroots Music
With the Black Eyed Peas “in the full throes of preparing for their new album later this year,” Molina says the band’s current European tour is one of his “biggest highlights” of 2022. (He’s also looking forward to an “exceptional remix” of BEP’s Shakira and David Guetta collaboration, “Don’t You Worry.”) Grassroots clients also continue to score wins on the charts, with Gerardo Ortíz earning his 11th No. 1 on Regional Mexican Airplay and Adriel Favela earning a No. 2 hit on the same chart with his Carin León team-up, “Con un Botecito a Pecho.”
Founder/CEO, Criteria Entertainment
Rodriguez’s marketing and management firm has been working with Chile’s Mon Laferte and Spain’s Enrique Bunbury, as well as clients Draco Rosa, Francisca Valenzuela, Diamante Eléctrico and Flor de Toloache. Criteria Entertainment is also creating a new division to educate and immerse Latin artists in Web3 with metaverse initiatives beginning in November.
“It has been incredible to be a part of the Anitta family and make history beside her,” Silverstein says of his Brazilian pop star client, who achieved her highest-charting hit with the combustible single “Envolver.” Thanks in part to a viral TikTok dance, the track reached No. 3 on Hot Latin Songs and No. 1 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart — the latter achievement making Anitta the first Brazilian artist to top the global tally, just ahead of her Coachella performance and the release of the album Versions of Me.
Director of services, Latin America, Apple
Head of U.S. Latin, music business partnerships, Apple Music
The most significant recent development for Apple Music has been the streaming service’s introduction of high-definition Spatial Audio, which “has revolutionized how we listen to audio over the past year,” says Flores. “Apple Music has partnered with labels and the artist community to deliver thousands of current and catalog titles, including top-streaming, chart-topping releases in the format. From Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti to Yahritza y Su Ensencia’s Obsessed, we continue to see Latin music break records and embrace Spatial Audio.” The technology is also boosting catalog streams “as fans rediscover music in the format,” adds Flores, particularly “Música Mexicana, [which is] the second fastest-growing Latin subgenre on the platform.”
Global head of Latin music, Amazon Music
As Latin music continues to explode worldwide and streaming services dig deeper into local scenes, Guerrero led the Amazon Music Latin team in launching two new major playlists: GEN MEX: Your Generation of Música Mexicana, with original content from artists such as Christian Nodal and Grupo Firme, and El Género: The Influence of La Cultura, launched with exclusive music from Argentine urbano superstar Paulo Londra. Says Guerrero: “Both brands are meant to support the importance of the local voices and genres that truly make Latin music a global phenomenon with exclusive music, videos, playlists and more.”
Director of music partnerships, Latin America, YouTube
Manager of music label partnerships, U.S. Latin, YouTube
Artist relations manager, YouTube Music
Latin artists are making inroads on TikTok competitor YouTube Shorts, which launched globally in July 2021 and reaches 1.5 billion logged-in users each month (as of April, according to YouTube). “I am so proud of Latin America’s contribution to that success since the global launch of YouTube Shorts,” says Jimenez. In addition, YouTube created original programming such as Abre Alas, a six-episode series by Brazilian singer Agnes Nunes (it has over 4 million views) and 30 Days With: Anuel, with Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA (4.5 million).
Director of Latin music, Pandora
Senior Latin curator/programmer, Pandora
Azucena Olvera Vidaurri
Director of Latin talent and industry relations, SiriusXM/Pandora
“There is such a wonderful diversity of Latin culture and music, and we aim to showcase this to our audiences,” says Olvera Vidaurri, adding that live performances and unique experiences for both emerging talent and superstars are a priority. Out of 50.5 million monthly active users (in the second quarter of 2022), 10 million listeners access Pandora’s Latin stations each month, including the genre-bending Pop Latino (5.1 million followers), top current music on El Pulso (over 3.5 million) and two decade-old stations, Cumbia Sonidera (over 16 million) and Reggaetón (14 million).
GM, Latin America, Spotify
Head of artist and label partnerships, Latin America and U.S., Spotify
“Latin music is living through a golden era,” says Nygren. In Latin America, Spotify claims a 60% market share of all streaming music subscribers and 100 million active users. That presence has helped the platform spread Latin music around the world. This year, Nygren says, Brazil’s Anitta and Argentina’s Bizarrap (in partnership with Spain’s Quevedo) have topped Spotify’s global charts. Puerto Rico’s Bad Bunny repeated as Spotify’s global top-streamed artist in 2021 while his album Un Verano Sin Ti set a one-week streaming record in May.
President, Kobalt Latin America
Casonú oversaw the contract renewal for chart-topper Karol G, coinciding with the Colombian artist’s recent back-to-back hits, “Provenza” and “MAMIII” (with Becky G) — both of which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. The renewal follows the Kobalt signings of singer-songwriter Justin Quiles, as well as Ovy on the Drums (Karol G’s go-to producer) in a deal that includes creative, synch and administration for his catalog and future works.
President of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Universal Music Publishing Group
With a commitment to “help their writers reach global success,” Lioutikoff and her UMPG Latin America and U.S. Latin teams have spent the past year extending deals with heavyweights like the Juan Gabriel estate, Romeo Santos, Espinosa Paz, Horacio Palencia and Luisa Sonza. Lioutikoff also oversaw this year’s landmark deals with Univision and Pineapple (the biggest rap channel in Brazil), both of which created new opportunities across their roster. For its efforts, UMPG Latin earned the title of BMI’s Latin publisher of the year for the second time in a row in March, something Lioutikoff attributes to the company’s “songwriters’ and artists’ much-deserved success.”
President/CEO of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Sony Music Publishing
For the 18th time in the last 20 years, Sony Music Publishing clinched the ASCAP Latin publisher of the year title; Mejia’s team also won the Latin publishing corporation of the year award at Billboard’s Latin Music Awards and SESAC’s Latin publisher of the year award for the seventh year in a row. Apart from the accolades, Mejia — who leads the publishing company’s Latin America and U.S. Latin divisions — says he’s most proud of signing Brazilian global superstar Anitta and helping her become the first Brazilian artist to reach No. 1 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart and the renewal of its deal with hitmaking producer Tainy, who has been with the company since 2005.
President of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Warner Chappell Music
At the helm of Warner Chappell’s Latin America and U.S. Latin music teams, Menéndez is no stranger to signing hitmakers. Whether it’s recent signees such as superstar Paulo Londra of Argentina or regional Mexican music icon Gerardo Ortíz, Menéndez is “proud of the incredible talent” his team works with at Warner Chappell and says he’s excited about the “explosive growth” in the sector over the last year. Beyond the hits, Menéndez notes the recent philanthropic work his Warner Chappell team and Warner Music Group have done, which includes partnerships with MusiCares, Outright Action International and Project HOPE. He has also partnered with his signees to further their own charitable pursuits. “In Colombia, our office is supporting the Mi Sangre Foundation, founded by our writer and peace ambassador Juanes in response to Colombia’s need for treatment for land mine victims.”
Senior vp of A&R, Concord Music Publishing
Yohai has worked closely with director of A&R Pablo Ahogado to develop Concord Music Publishing’s global roster. “Our focus is always on bringing in writers and artists with specific points of view on music and the culture that surrounds it,” Yohai says. The expansion of Concord’s Miami office, where Ahogado is based, was key to tapping new talent from Mexico and South America. The team focused on alternative Latin music, signing artists and writers such as Omar Apollo and Silvana Estrada, and the growing genre of Latin rap and drill, signing Chucky73. Other highlights from the past year include Noah Goldstein serving as a writer and/or producer on 11 songs on Rosalía’s Motomami album and Bia going platinum with “Whole Lotta Money,” with a remix featuring Nicki Minaj.
Vp of music programming, SiriusXM
Director of music programming, SiriusXM
SiriusXM boasts a lineup of 17 Latin music channels, including Latin urban (Flow Nation), classic salsa (Rumbón) and Latin jazz (Luna). “We are focused on developing engaging content that celebrates the richness and depth of Latin music through our limited engagement channels, like J Balvin Radio hosted by J Balvin; from specials featuring the reunion of [the] founding members of Irakere, hosted by Chucho Valdés, to honoring the legacy of Vicente Fernández with a tribute channel,” says Colón.
Head of music label partnerships, Latin America and U.S. Latin, Meta
Alvaro de Torres Zabala
International music publishing manager, Meta
Meta’s Facebook played a major role at the Latin Grammy Awards this past year, partnering with the Latin Recording Academy, Univision and record labels to host videos of Grammy performances by Bad Bunny, Juanes and Camilo, generating over 300 million views, according to Harley. “More and more the music industry will rely on tech solutions to expand their universe,” de Torres Zabala says, “and Meta is second to none in providing these new tools and becoming an essential piece of the future of the music industry.”
President, Univision Radio, TelevisaUnivision
Ismar Santa Cruz
Senior vp of radio content, TelevisaUnivision
Executive vp of music and nonscripted entertainment, TelevisaUnivision U.S.
TelevisaUnivision has reaffirmed its role as a vital partner to the Latin music industry through its TV network programming, radio properties, events and digital platforms. Highlights of its activity include its own Premios Juventud awards show in July and its broadcast of the Latin Grammy Awards in November; the Uforia Concierto de Campeones, a celebration of music and soccer, broadcast on Univision; the growth of its Uforia audio footprint, with programming such as the new Levántate con Ysaac Alvarez morning show on KLVE (K-Love 107.5) Los Angeles; and live events in the Uforia Music Series, with performances in major markets by Latin stars including Grupo Firme, Don Omar, Maluma and Azules.
President/COO, Spanish Broadcasting System
President of SBS Entertainment, Spanish Broadcasting System
Executive vp of programming, Spanish Broadcasting System
Coming out of the pandemic, SBS’ radio revenue rose 60% in 2022, leading to the opening of new stations in Florida markets Orlando and Tampa and the continued success of New York’s WSKQ-FM (La Mega 97.9), the most listened-to Spanish-language station in the United States, according to Nielsen. The company also returned to live events, including the Guaya Guaya and El Día Nacional de La Zalsa festivals in Orlando. Plus, SBS’ iconic Calibash urban festival expanded to three dates in Los Angeles and one in Las Vegas.
Head of music operations, TikTok Latin America and Mexico
TikTok and Latin music are both exploding in popularity, and Ruiz is right in the center of that explosion with the platform’s TikTok Live, noting that the initiative “reshapes the concept of single- and album-release activities.” So far, these include a release party for Kimberly Loaiza’s “Mejor Sola,” the No. 1 TikTok Live for peak concurrent viewers with over 470,000; Rosalía’s release of her Motomami album, which racked up a total audience of 4 million; and the SuenaEnTikTok music festival, the first live festival broadcast on the platform in Latin America, which was seen by over 6 million people across its three days.
President/chief creative officer/on-air talent, iHeartLatino/iHeartRadio
Pedro Javier González
Senior vp of programming, iHeartLatino
Santos and González continue to boost Latin music’s presence on iHeartMedia’s many platforms, most notably the newly created My Cultura Podcast Network. Dedicated to “celebrating and elevating Latin voices,” the network is home to many Latin favorites, including The Enrique Santos Morning Show, which expanded into new syndicated markets and broke ratings and sales records, according to iHeart. Through González and Santos, the Spanish-language music reach grew with two new rumba stations in Boston and Philadelphia.
Francisco “Cisco” Suárez
Executive vp of primetime unscripted and specials, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises
Under Suárez’s watch, Telemundo once again produced the Latin American Music Awards and Billboard’s Latin Music Awards. Specializing in events that highlight the range and diversity of Latin music, Telemundo added another show to its portfolio: Premios Tu Música Urbano, which aired live for the first time from Puerto Rico in June. “Live events bring us together to celebrate the power of music and the ever-expanding reach of our culture,” says Suárez, who joined Telemundo in 2018. “There is no denying the influence of Latin music; we’re taking the music industry and pop culture by storm.”
Bruno del Granado
Head of global Latin music touring group, Creative Artists Agency
Rudy Lopez Negrete
Agent, Creative Artists Agency
“In the past year our team has worked tirelessly with our clients to achieve a number of successes that we’re really proud of,” says del Granado. Such accomplishments include Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias’ joint U.S. tour. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, the tour grossed $35.1 million and sold 312,000 tickets. Following that success, Alejandra Guzmán and Paulina Rubio embarked on their own U.S. tour; Anthony Ramos secured a global campaign with bag brand Tumi; and the CAA team spearheaded negotiations for clients Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia to co-star in the Plan B-Warner Bros. remake of Father of the Bride.
Partner/music agent, UTA
Executive of music brand partnerships, UTA
Music agent, UTA
With a roster that includes Bad Bunny, Karol G, Anitta, Romeo Santos, Rosalía and other superstars, UTA’s clients are helping to boost Latin music — and making history in the process. Earlier this year, Bad Bunny’s El Último Tour del Mundo tour became the highest-grossing trek by a Latin artist in Billboard Boxscore history, grossing $116.8 million and selling 575,000 tickets across 35 shows in February and March. Says Lewis: “Witnessing our Spanish-speaking stars evolve into bona fide global household names is truly gratifying and such a well-deserved result of their hard work and true cultural impact.”
Gonzalez notes that WME’s major Latin music highlights of the year include Farruko’s ascent to “festival headliner across the globe,” the signing of urbano sensation Nathy Peluso and next-gen regional Mexican act Yahritza y Su Esencia. Reggaetón star Ozuna joined the agency’s Latin roster in June. The WME team also organized global tours for clients including Agudelo888, Bomba Estereo, Café Tacvba, Jessie Reyez and Kali Uchis. According to WME, its Latin talent accounted for over 40% of headliner bookings at North American festivals in 2022.
CEO, Loud and Live
Senior vp of entertainment, Loud and Live
The Miami-based entertainment, sports and marketing company Loud and Live was quick to rebound after the pandemic shut down concerts. The firm returned to venues in early 2021 with more than 400 shows and tours for clients including Carlos Vives, Ruben Blades, Camilo and Prince Royce. Its studio division, launched last year, also enjoyed a major victory: Its Juan Luis Guerra musical special, Entre Mar y Palmeras, premiered on HBO and went on to win a Latin Grammy Award in November. On top of that, the company continues “to create unique consumer experiences,” says Albareda, by connecting prominent brands with top Latin artists, notably pairing Nicky Jam, Manuel Turizo and Lunay with McDonald’s on a campaign called Ritmo y Color.
What were some of the biggest challenges Loud and Live faced when the pandemic hit?
Loud and Live is a relatively new player on the scene. We started in July of 2017. We were growing very fast, but when we got hit by COVID-19, we really only had a two-and-a-half-year-old start under our belt. Because of that entrepreneurial, startup mentality, we never closed. We kept on going. I think we were one of the first promoters in the country to do shows during COVID. Our first show was in February 2021 with reduced capacities. The obstacle that we faced is that the cost of doing shows has significantly gone up after COVID, from labor to trucking to a lot of expenses. Everything is really abnormal in our business. You never know what’s going to come next.
What has allowed you to get so big so quickly?
We’re marketers-turned-promoters. Most promoters are promoters-turned-marketers. If you look at our roster, we’ve really changed the grosses for artists we work with for the better. We bring sponsors, we bring content. I think the main difference, the Loud and Live difference, is being there for artists for the long term.
What led you to launch the studio division, which you originally planned to do in 2023?
It was COVID. We didn’t have much to do. So we thought, “Let’s accelerate that project.”
It must have been vindicating to win the Latin Grammy Award for the Juan Luis Guerra special.
Not bad for a new outfit.
Do you have other expansion plans?
We are expanding into Latin America; we started doing shows there late last year. We have shows with Camilo, Carlos Vives and others. We continue to grow our joint venture with Move Concerts, the largest independent promoter in Latin America. We have our eyes set on Europe. We just launched in Spain.
Are you seeing an increased interest from consumer companies in reaching the Latin market?
More brands are now considering Latin music to be mainstream and global. Obviously the J Balvin partnership we did with McDonald’s was ground-breaking. It put a Latin artist at the same level as a Travis Scott or a K-pop band. Brands are starting to see Latin music as mainstream. Another thing is that we are expanding into other genres outside of Latin. Our marketing and sports divisions work in both the general market and the Latin market. The biggest obstacle we face is having the agents and managers of non-Latin acts trust us. Agents are stuck between the Live Nations and AEGs. But I do see a resurgence in independent promoters. And I think we’re a testament to the fact that, if you put the right resources in and do what’s right for the business, there’s an opportunity there.
Chris Den Uijl
Co-founders, Baja Beach Fest, Sueños and Coca Cola Flow Fest
Since launching in 2018, Baja Beach Fest has become a reggaetón and Latin music powerhouse on the West Coast, turning the once sleepy beach town of Rosarito, Mexico, into an annual destination for tens of thousands of fans. “As the world continues to discover the limitless talent of Latinos through their music, we as a team are excited to continue creating opportunities for the culture to shine in unique locations around the world.” (This year’s festival went forward without incident despite U.S. Department of State advisories to “reconsider travel” to the region due to violence between crime cartels.) Co-founders Ampudia and Uijl also staged Chicago’s Sueños festival on May 28-29 and will present the Mexico-based Coca Cola Flow Fest in Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City in November.
COO of U.S. concerts, Live Nation
Senior vp of global touring, Live Nation
Senior vp of booking, Live Nation
Vp of Latin touring, Live Nation
With her rise within Live Nation to the role of COO of U.S. concerts, Beato became the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the position at the world’s largest concert promoter. She has supported the company’s involvement in Latin live events, from Maná’s residency at The Forum in Los Angeles to a Mexican Independence Day celebration in Las Vegas. Schafer has promoted this year’s milestone 21-date stadium tour by Bad Bunny, which has set records for venues in Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York, Houston and Orlando, Fla. During 2021, Schafer promoted Los Bukis’ stadium tour, which included back-to-back sellouts at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and the first show by a Latin act at stadiums in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Oakland, Calif. Simonitsch helped open the YouTube Theater in Inglewood with sold-out shows by Caifanes, Bronco, Los Ángeles Azules, Christian Nodal and Cristian Castro y Mijares. She also has worked on tours and residencies by Ana Gabriel, Alejandro Fernández, Pepe Aguilar, Jaripeo Sin Fronteras, Angela Aguilar and Marco Antonio Solís, among others. Moran is one of Live Nation’s key bookers for Latin artists in clubs, theaters, arenas and other venues, working with breakout artists like Santa Fe Klan and established acts like Hombres G, Cafe Tacvba and Angela Aguilar to expand the company’s portfolio of Latin tours.
Founder/CEO, Cárdenas Marketing Network
Producing multiple Bad Bunny tours is more than enough to make 2022 a banner year for CMN: The superstar’s El Último Tour del Mundo outing and two stand-alone shows in Puerto Rico grossed $123.2 million across 37 concerts, according to Billboard Boxscore, and was followed by his World’s Hottest Tour stadium run in August. CMN also scored with Daddy Yankee’s farewell tour, which kicked off in July, and Ana Gabriel’s 20 U.S. dates, her biggest tour so far.
Francisco “Paco” López
Founder/CEO, No Limit Entertainment
López says he knew he wanted to be a concert producer since he was young, telling friends and family in Puerto Rico that his path was preordained. “I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew I was going to do it,” he says. By establishing relationships with artists who were shaping the island’s musical legacy, and getting to know them early in their careers, he worked his way up to bigger and bigger shows. Current clients include Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Trevi, Rosalía and Wisin & Yandel, who sold out 14 shows at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan.
CEO, Move Concerts
As CEO of Move Concerts, one of the biggest independent promoters in Latin America, Rodriguez feels “blessed” to report that after two pandemic-stricken years, the company’s “concert business is back in full swing.” He’s even more excited about Move’s independent label, Grand Move Records, and the success of its breakout artist, Argentine singer-rapper Tiago PZK, who is signed to Warner and whose single “Entre Nosotros” spent 16 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Argentina Hot 100. “It is crazy when we think we released ‘Entre Nosotros’ on July 8, 2021,” Rodriguez says. “And his debut album finally dropped on July 21.”
CEO, Latin Recording Academy
“A year into my role as CEO, I remain incredibly honored to serve the Latin music community and lead this organization into a new era of evolution,” says Abud, the first new CEO the organization has had in 20 years. “When I look back over the year, there are two important accomplishments I’m very proud of: We have strengthened our team to best position the organization for growth. Secondly, we have made a very conscious effort to further diversify our membership body to best reflect the communities we serve. Our main objective is that every segment of the Latin music industry is well represented.”
Regional director of Latin America, IFPI
Recorded-music revenue in Latin America increased by 31.2% to $1 billion last year, with revenue from performance rights for recordings rising 23%, according to IFPI’s Global Music Report. “The growth reflects not only the resilience and hard work of the music licensing companies but also the central role music plays in almost all aspects of our lives,” says Asensio, who is responsible for coordinating the activities of IFPI’s affiliated record-industry trade groups in the region. In the past 12 months, his office signed cooperation agreements with intellectual property offices in Paraguay and Peru, further strengthening the protection of music rights in Latin America.
Vp/head of Miami entertainment banking, City National Bank
Vp/senior relationship manager of entertainment banking, City National Bank
For City National Bank, one of the music industry’s key financial partners across all genres, Latin entertainment is especially important. Having been involved in the industry for almost 70 years, CNB helped clients through the pandemic by working with them to strengthen their finances and access loans from the U.S. Paycheck Protection Program. “As the pandemic wanes, we at City National have been busy helping clients get back to touring, which allows them to do what they do best: write and perform new music for fans eager to attend live shows,” says Ybarra-Perez.
Vp of U.S. Latin & Latin America, ASCAP
With an impressive tenure at ASCAP that dates back to 1999, Gonzalez has been instrumental in the performing rights organization’s presence in Latin music. But in her role as vp of the Latin division, she’s most proud of her team’s push for inclusivity and philanthropy. Those efforts have included a monthly “On the Spot” series — which highlights music creators on social media who are having a positive impact on the music industry — in addition to scholarships and programs made in collaboration with the ASCAP Foundation. In May, the PRO streamed an online conversation between ASCAP Latin songwriter and artist of the year Camilo and Jorge Mejia, president/CEO of Sony Music Publishing Latin America and U.S. Latin.
Vp of creative Latin, BMI
In his first 15 months in his vp role, Gonzalez secured BMI’s sponsorship of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival while also developing initiatives for Hispanic Heritage Month such as BMI’s Música y Más. Creating events that connect industry leaders — and retaining Dímelo Flow, Súbelo Neo and Hide Miyabi on BMI’s roster — was also a priority. Gonzalez’s initiatives to highlight Latin songwriters include Sonidos, BMI’s official South by Southwest showcase.
Vp of creative, SESAC Latina
In 2021, SESAC Latina songwriter affiliates earned 23 No. 1 songs on the Billboard charts, according to the PRO. During this year’s SESAC Latina Music Awards in June, writers including Edén Muñoz, Nicky Jam and Christian Nodal were honored in the regional Mexican and pop/Latin rhythm categories, while SESAC also announced the signing of regional Mexican trio Yahritza y Su Esencia. “Their debut single premiered at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and they are growing into a cultural phenomenon in the Mexican genre,” Zendejas says. “We are honored to be part of their continued success.”
Contributors: Darlene Aderoju, Rania Aniftos, Chuck Arnold, Nefertiti Austin, Katie Bain, Alexei Barrioneuvo, Starr Bowenbank, Dave Brooks, Pamela Bustios, Anna Chan, Leila Cobo, Janine Coveney, Stephen Daw, Thom Duffy, Chris Eggertsen, Griselda Flores, Josh Glicksman, Paul Grein, Raquelle Harris, Lyndsey Havens, Steve Knopper, Carl Lamarre, Elias Leight, Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch, Heran Mamo, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Jessica Nicholson, Glenn Peoples, Kristin Robinson, Jessica Roiz, Neena Rouhani, Dan Rys, Crystal Shepeard, Richard Smirke, Andrew Unterberger, Deborah Wilker
Methodology: Nominations for Billboard’s executive lists open no less than 120 days in advance of publication. (For a contact for our editorial calendar, please email [email protected]) The online nomination link is sent to press representatives who send a request for notification before the nomination period to [email protected] Billboard’s 2022 Latin Power Players were chosen by editors based on factors including, but not limited to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors. In addition to information requested with nominations, editors consider industry impact as measured by metrics including, but not limited to, chart, sales and streaming performance as measured by Billboard, Luminate and social media impressions using data available as of July 12.
This story will appear in the Sept. 17, 2022, issue of Billboard.