Billboard's Latin Power Players List Revealed
As the U.S. Hispanic population rises to 55 million and its youthful audience streams bilingual stars, the genre’s leading execs, managers, programmers and promoters take their artists and their industry to new heights.
AFO VERDE: EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Chairman/CEO Latin America, Spain and Portugal, Sony Music Entertainment
It’s Monday afternoon at Jennifer Lopez’s house in Los Angeles, and Afo Verde is performing a delicate balancing act with three of his biggest artists. In one room, there’s Roberto Carlos, Brazil’s top-selling singer of all time, who’s here to shoot a video with Lopez for a forthcoming single. Marc Anthony -- Lopez’s ex-husband and (still) friend -- is hanging out on the balcony. He’s here to work with Lopez, who’s preparing her first Spanish-language album in a decade (due in 2017), which Anthony will executive-produce. Lopez signed with Verde after he visited during her Las Vegas residency in 2015. “Afo is an artist’s record man,” she says. “He’s in the studio, and he’s behind the desk. I have always related best to executives who really understand the art of making music.”
Before he was an executive, Verde, 50, was a musician-producer, and that experience informs how he relates to a growing roster of superstars that includes Enrique Iglesias (signed in 2015), Romeo Santos, Prince Royce, Wisin, Yandel and Nicky Jam. He has long-standing and tight ties to Ricky Martin, Chayanne, Carlos Vives and Shakira, with whom he spent a week in Barcelona in September, working on her Spanish-language album (due in 2017). While he was there, he caught an FC Barcelona practice with Shakira’s partner, star defender Gerard Piqué. “My knees were shaking, I was so excited,” says the Buenos Aires-born Verde, a soccer buff who lives in Coral Gables, Fla., with his partner, teacher Miranda Bostan.
In the past three years, Verde hasn’t just scooped up most of Latin music’s current hitmakers (year-to-date label share for current tracks: roughly 53.7%); he has established Sony as the market-share leader in Latin America and has seen steady growth in his U.S. market share as well. Verde also has diversified, launching Eventim Brazil, a joint venture with the German ticketing company that handled all 8.5 million tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and now has deals with several Brazilian artists and venues.
All the while, he has maintained a singular staff uniquely qualified to prioritize artists’ needs: Most of Sony’s upper managers are professional musicians. “My mantra is, ‘Sony is the artists’ home,’ ” says Verde, who also holds degrees in architecture and -marketing. “Once you gain artists’ trust, success is only a matter of time.” -- Leila Cobo
JESUS LOPEZ, 61
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula
Consolidating and expanding Universal's Latin reach
With more than 30 years of experience in the music business, the chairman/CEO of the biggest Latin music label in the United States has been a key player in the careers of a host of superstars, including Latin Grammy record-holders Alejandro Sanz and Juanes, who thanks Lopez for “always being respectful of my artistic decisions and providing constructive feedback.” In 2016, J Balvin, one of the hottest reggaetóneros of the moment, renewed his recording deal with Universal and signed a co-management agreement with Capitol Latin, a Universal Music Latin Entertainment division. The “Bobo” singer is one of 49 artists -- including major players like Juan Magan, David Bisbal, Manuel Carrasco, Jencarlos and La Santa Cecilia -- who have management or co-management deals with Universal.
Aside from developing and consolidating new business models for management deals, Madrid native Lopez says his biggest achievement in 2016 was -- breaking through with new Latin artists around the world, including the label’s two Latin Grammy best new artist nominees: Colombian folk-pop band Morat and Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte (who’s also nominated for best alternative album). -- Griselda Flores
First Latin Record He Bought: Joan Manuel Serrat, Mediterráneo
TOMAS COOKMAN, 56
President, Nacional Records; CEO, Industria Works
The man who made Latin cool gives alternative artists exposure
As the head of Nacional Records and founder of the Latin Alternative Music Conference, and as a manager, Cookman is known for taking his “left-of-center, cutting-edge Latino artists” to the charts, mainstream media, the soundtracks of English-language films and TV shows, and the Latin Grammys (Chilean singer Álex Anwandter and Mexican group The Chamanas both scored best new artist nominations in 2016). He describes Industria Works, his just-launched company with offices in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Madrid, as an “alternative platform for artist development.” The Manhattan-born punk and reggae fan, a married father of two, started his career in Buenos Aires as the manager of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. “My friend Ivan Alvarez was once asked, ‘What do you do?,’” says Cookman. “He responded with, ‘What do you need?’ I took it as solid advice and ran with it.”
VICTOR GONZALEZ, 50
President, Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Keeping Juan Gabriel’s legend alive
As overseer of Universal’s U.S. Latin and Mexico operations, Gonzalez guides a roster including reggaetón star J Balvin, regional Mexican singer Julión Álvarez and the late balladeer Juan Gabriel, who had the highest-grossing U.S. Latin tour (nearly $40 million) of 2015. Gabriel’s duets album Los Dúo was last year’s top-selling Latin album, while the follow-up, Los Dúo 2, was one of the best-sellers of 2016. “In one moment you are filled with sadness,” says the Mexico City-born Gonzalez, who regularly communicated with Gabriel about the creative process and strategies, “but at the same time you have the responsibility to manage that moment, to fulfill the legacy he leaves.”
NIR SEROUSSI, 41
President, Sony Music U.S. Latin
A multicultural force with his finger on the pulse of new Latin
With a focus on developing hits like Enrique Iglesias’ “El Perdón” and “Duele el Corazón,” Seroussi has established his label as “the powerhouse of the singles market,” with 36.1 percent of 2016’s Latin current track market to date and 26 out of 42 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Born in Israel, raised in Venezuela and schooled at Berklee, Seroussi -- who lives in Coral Gables, Fla., with wife Sandra -- is sought after as a bilingual executive with a keen sense for what new Latin consumers want; recent acts include CNCO, Farruko and Jacob Forever.
Biggest indulgence: “I’m a sucker for my French bulldogs: Mia, Milo and Emma. They live like MTV Cribbers!”
ANGEL DEL VILLAR, 36; LUIS DEL VILLAR, 37
Founder/CEO, Del Records; Founder/CEO, Gerencia 360
Making their marks in Mexican regional music
Brothers Ángel and Luis del Villar are game-changers in the regional Mexican genre, managing separate but complementary operations. Ángel’s DEL Records has launched the careers of chart-topping artists like Gerardo Ortiz, Luis Coronel and Régulo Caro, while Luis’ Gerencia 360 is placing all bets on up-and-comers like Adriel Favela, whose “Tomen Nota” landed in the top 10 of Billboard’s Regional Mexican Songs, Latin Airplay and Top Latin Albums charts. “When I started in the music industry, I noticed that labels only believed in big names,” says Ángel. “But the key to success is taking risks on new talent.” Luis echoes that: “We want well-rounded artists like Adriel, the next king of ranchera, to be able to benefit from premiere services.”
INIGO ZABALA, 56
President, Warner Music Latin America & Iberia
Growing his global Latin lineup
Under Zabala, Warner’s Latin American market share rose 1.6 percentage points in 2015. Equally important for the Madrid native -- who once played keyboards with Spanish pop band La Union -- are the inroads Warner has made in artist development, with acts like Brazil’s Anitta (who performed at the Olympics), Spanish singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán, Puerto Rican reggaetón duo Zion & Lennox and Colombian multi-Latin Grammy nominee Manuel Medrano. “It’s a very dynamic roster,” says Zabala.
Favorite non-latin artist: “David Bowie. An amazing composer, songwriter and fashion icon.”
Executive VP Latin music, Universal Music Publishing
After ASCAP, still attracting top songwriters
Though just appointed to her post in March after 18 years leading ASCAP’s Latin department, Lioutikoff has already made her mark, signing Mexican singer-songwriter Espinoza Paz and, most recently, Romeo Santos, whose “Propuesta Indecente” leads Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs of All Time list. Before Lioutikoff pulled them in, neither artist had ever signed with a major publisher. “I was thinking about Romeo from the moment I got to Universal,”says Lioutikoff. “We will be able to reach many more markets with music that has demonstrated amazing appeal.” And the Málaga, Spain, native’s ambitions don’t end there: “I want us to be No. 1 in the market.”
JORGE MEJIA, 44
President, Sony/ATV music publishing, Latin America & U.S. Latin
Collecting a hat trick of publishing honors
Mejía was promoted from executive vp to president in 2016 for good reason: At the BMI, ASCAP and SESAC Latin Music Awards, Sony/ATV won publisher of the year, a “triple crown” that no publisher has achieved in more than a decade. So far this year, Sony/ATV has placed 67 titles on the Hot Latin Songs chart, far outpacing the competition. “Urban is the new pop,” says the Colombian-born, Miami-raised Mejía, whose recent signings include Farruko, Nicky Jam and Wisin & Yandel. “It’s becoming very, very mainstream.”
Biggest indulgence: “Every year, my wife, Amanda, and I take a surf vacation to somewhere like Hawaii or Fiji, completely off the grid.”
GUSTAVO MENENDEZ, 51
Executive VP, Warner/Chappell music, Latin America and U.S. Latin
Expanding the company roster in Colombia
Menéndez added a jewel to Warner/Chappell’s Latin crown in 2016 with the opening of a Bogotá office, joining the six sites Menéndez oversees in Latin America and his home base, Miami. “Colombian music has made an impact for many years,” says Menéndez, who recently signed Sky and songwriting/production team Bull Nene. For the Buenos Aires native, who is engaged to singer-TV personality Deborah de Corral, the Bogotá branch’s goal is business as usual: “Making sure our songwriters get compensated well.”
Pro Tip: “[Former Warner/Chappell president] Rick Shoemaker told me I don’t have to do business with people I don’t like or respect. That relieved me from so much pressure.”
FERNANDO GIACCARDI, 49
Senior manager, Red Light Management
Committed to, and partnering with, Enrique
This Mexico City native is steadfast: He has managed Enrique Iglesias for 16 years, with spectacular results. In 2015, Iglesias was the longest-running No. 1 act on Hot Latin Songs (38 weeks), and in 2016 he’s second at 14 weeks; as of September, his Love & Sex Tour had been seen by 1.3 million people in 147 venues. “Radio hits are one thing; success at all levels is another,” says Giaccardi, who in 2016 began managing top Latin Grammy nominees Jesse & Joy within a new division of Red Light, with Iglesias as business partner.
Pro Tip: “Money is, and has to be, a consequence, never the main objective.”
JOHNNY MARINES, 43
President, Roc Nation Latin; Founder/owner, Johnny Marines Enterprises
Romeo Santos’ secret weapon, and now Jay Z’s, too
Thanks to Marines’ business acumen as Romeo Santos’ manager, in 2014 Santos became the only Latin singer to sell out two shows at New York’s Yankee Stadium; in 2016 he became the second-ever Latin artist to surpass 1 billion YouTube views, for his “Propuesta Indecente” video. A former sergeant with the New York Police Department, Marines is now a key part of Jay Z’s Roc Nation family as president of Roc Nation Latin (Santos is CEO). “Artists willing to work hard,” he says, “have a new home they can count on at Roc Nation Latin.”
ALEX MIZRAHI, 44, LUANA PAGANI
CEO, Ocesa Seitrack; Partner/president, Seitrack U.S.
Serving their artists on all fronts
“The vision has always been giving our clients the most complete service possible and helping them reach an international audience,” say Mizrahi and Pagani of Seitrack, their all-encompassing company -- a record label, booking service and talent management -- with clients like Miguel Bosé and Pepe Aguilar. In 2016, Mizrahi and Pagani say they “wanted to prove that Ha*Ash did sell albums and concert tickets,” and so they did: The sister duo sold out 100 shows (1.2 million tickets) in Mexico and Latin America, and they’ll soon perform for the first time at Mexico City’s Palacio de los Deportes and Puerto Rico’s iconic El Coliseo.
JORGE JUAREZ, 39; DAVID WEST, 53
CEO, Westwood Entertainment; President, Westwood Entertainment
Innovative marketers taking their artists global
Juárez and West co-founded Westwood Entertainment in 2000 to develop bona fide recording artists whose sounds would resonate beyond Mexico. And they did: Camila, Reik, Jesse & Joy, Natalia Lafourcade and Sin Bandera, among others, have achieved critical success internationally. After a seven-year hiatus to record solo projects, Sin Bandera’s Leonel García and Noel Schajris recently emerged with new music; their Una Ultima Vez Tour, which has grossed more than $25 million in Latin America, extends to the United States in 2017. West looks fondly on the duo’s sabbatical: “I’ve grown as a manager, and they have grown as musicians."
MICHEL VEGA, 50
CEO, Magnus Media
Marc Anthony's partner, and a force behind iHeartLatino
A year-and-a-half after Vega founded Miami-based Magnus Media with Marc Anthony, his artists have sold more than 2 million tickets in 30-plus countries on three continents and boast more than 100 million followers on social media. “That speaks to the influence of the talent that we represent,” says Vega. The former head of Latin music for William Morris Endeavor calls out his deal that led to the creation of iHeartLatino, headed by Magnus client Enrique Santos. “It has changed the entire dynamic of the Spanish radio business,” says Vega. “I’ve had more than one record-company president call and say, ‘Thanks for this.’”
Favorite non-latin artist: “Justin Timberlake, for the way he has curated his impeccable career, combining his music, acting and business interests.”
HENRY CARDENAS, 60
CEO/Founder, Cárdenas Marketing Network
An entrepreneur sending stars all over the world
CMN notched its busiest year ever in 2016, presenting nearly 200 concerts and seven national tours by the likes of Ricardo Arjona, Marc Anthony, Juan Luis Guerra and Juan Gabriel (whose death, says Cárdenas, was the “worst” thing for the biz): all that, in addition to launching rising regional Mexican star Julión Álvarez’s first arena tour. Colombian-born Cárdenas, who is known for his dependability and straight talk, also runs the Maestro Care Foundation with Anthony, a longtime client and friend.
BRUNO DEL GRANADO, 51
Agent, Creative Artists Agency
Adding Latin A-listers to CAA’s elite roster
When del Granado, Ricky Martin’s former manager, was hired by CAA in 2013, his mandate was to grow the agency’s Hispanic business in the United States and Latin America. In 2016, the Spanish-born polyglot opened CAA’s first Miami office with a focus on Latin and a client roster including Nicky Jam and top Latin Grammy contenders Fonseca and Jesse & Joy. “It was a huge achievement and speaks volumes to what we want to do: sign a next generation of Latin superstars.”
Biggest indulgence: “I spend every spare dime on travel. The world is a book, and if you don’t travel, you haven’t read a page. I’ve visited five continents.”
ROB MARKUS, 48
Partner, William Morris Endeavor
Signing stars, sending them across continents
Markus has worked aggressively to expand the realms of action for clients like Juanes, Prince Royce and J Balvin, who’s in the midst of his first major European tour. “There are real opportunities outside the Latin community for these artists,” says Markus, an Australian who speaks perfect Spanish and who in the past year signed Farruko, Luis Coronel, Café Tacvba, Brazil’s Anitta and Bomba Estéreo -- upping his annual show count by 30 percent.
LUCAS PINA, 48
Senior VP, SBS Entertainment
Trusting his gut -- and filling arenas
The Colombian-born, self-taught Piña knows how to attract an audience. In December 2015, he staged Grand Slam Party Latino, the first-ever all-music event at Miami’s Marlins Stadium, booking 28 artists and selling 36,000 tickets. He’s now developing a “360 artist management platform,” and the father of four also is digging deep into regional Mexican with a series of shows at Los Angeles’ Pico Rivera Arena and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Pro tip: “Technology allows us to find fans and target their tastes.”
Senior VP talent, Live Nation
A veteran with unparalleled touring know-how
Daily 4:30 a.m. workouts keep Simonitsch -- a proud Angeleno who grew up in Echo Park, and a mother of two -- in top form for her role booking and promoting some of the biggest names in Latin music. From rock band Maná to regional Mexican star Julión Álvarez, Simonitsch’s ability to connect with artists has been key in a 30-year-plus career. Recent milestones include Ana Gabriel’s sold-out show at The Forum in Los Angeles, Pepe Aguilar’s full-house performance at The Greek Theatre and teaming up with Maná for its Latino Power Tour, which Simonitsch calls the biggest Latin American tour in North America -- and a critical force in getting out the Latino vote.
GABRIEL ABAROA, 55
President/CEO, the Latin Recording Academy
Slow and steady brings Latin Grammy success
The Latin Grammy Awards once seemed destined for failure: The organization was in debt, and CBS ratings were low. Now, as the franchise turns 17, academy chief Abaroa looks proudly on those years, when he and a staff of six worked diligently to secure a solid membership base, increase entries (up 12 percent in the past year alone), get out of debt and find broadcast success with Univision. “As Latinos, we cannot accept failure as an option,” says Abaroa. “In those days, we begged artists to come to the Latin Grammys. Now they get pissed off if they are not invited.”
Recent win: A new online voting system “proved to be dynamic and increased participation significantly in the process.”
RAUL ALARCON, 60
Chairman/President/CEO, Spanish Broadcasting System
Pioneering Cubatón on the airwaves
With a multimedia company employing more than 500 people, Alarcón stays ahead by thinking big. Beyond his powerful radio network -- which includes the top-rated Spanish-language station in the United States (WSKQ [La Mega] in New York) and the first-ever Cubatón station in the country, playing new music from the island -- SBS boasts a robust live-concert division and TV network. In 2016, Alarcón also launched Lamusica, a streaming app with a video-centric format featuring “snackable” original content. “The challenge,” he says, “is combining a terrestrial business with a digital business and making them both flourish.”
Biggest indulgence: “Regularly visiting some amazing diving spots in the Bahamas.”
JORGE "PEPO" FERRADAS, 52
President, music, Univision Communications
His mega-network moves toward a fresher future
He’s only approaching a year on the job at the leading Spanish-language network, but Ferradas’ 25-year career includes artist management, marketing and live events in key roles at Live Nation, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. During his first eight months at Univision, the Argentina native discovered the power of 127: the sum of all channels and radio destinations enabling Univision’s powerful reach across the United States. “We’ve focused on offering proposals related to the company’s multiple platforms,” says Ferradas -- like new talent incubator U-LAB and relaunching the broadcast of major live events, like the recent Rise Up As One.
MARIO RUIZ, 60
Senior VP music and entertainment projects, Telemundo Network
Giving Latin music a big stage on the small screen
Telemundo’s 2016 Latin American Music Awards, simulcast on the network’s millennial channel NBC Universo, ranked No. 1 in Spanish-language primetime and outperformed Fox and The CW among adults 18 to 49 -- underscoring the key role that music, and Ruiz, play at the network known for its high-caliber original Latin programming, The Bogotá, Colombia-born career music executive oversees the creation of music-based programming aimed at the heart of the Telemundo audience. His latest coup: acquiring the rights to the late Mexican singer Jenni Rivera’s life story.
WALTER KOLM, 48
CEO, W.K. Entertainment
Corralling Colombia’s top voices
Carlos Vives and Shakira can thank the Buenos Aires-born Kolm for their monster hit “La Bicicleta”: He worked with Sony Music Latin to facilitate the collaboration between the superstars, and the resulting reggaetón-vallenato track ruled the Billboard charts this summer (sitting at No. 1 for six weeks on Latin Airplay) and scored the pair a Latin Grammy nomination for song of the year. “[We] envisioned the result would be a massive worldwide hit,” says Kolm, citing the duet between two of Colombia’s musical heroes as a historic moment and his biggest career achievement of 2016. “Working with Walter allowed me to make a comeback,” says Vives, who, prior to signing on with Kolm, hadn’t had a record contract in eight years.
The former Universal executive -- who also manages singer Silvestre Dangond -- says the best thing to happen to the industry in recent years has been the return of the urban genre to the forefront of pop. “The last three years have shown that it is here to stay, and this has been great for new talent -- including my artist Maluma,” the Colombian reggaetón star. “We’ve been able to translate his social media fan base of more than 30 million into success and ticket sales.” The “El Perdedor” singer is currently on his Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy World Tour, which sold more than 800,000 tickets in Latin America alone.
Maluma on working with Ricky Martin, Shakira and what's next for him:
Next Latin Trend: “More fusion of nontraditional pop sounds -- like popular folkloric music from Latin America -- with urban music.”
JESUS SALAS, 41
Executive VP programming/multiplatform coordinator, SBS
The radio king bets on Cubatón
“Doing the research isn’t enough anymore: You have to get out there and literally ask people what they want to listen to,” says Salas, who oversees programming for all SBS stations (including New York’s top-rated La Mega). “It’s the underground stuff we need to follow.” As a result, he recently launched the first-ever station in the country dedicated to Cubatón, a mix of reggaetón with Cuban beats and trap. “You have to adjust your programming to reflect today’s mood and trends,” says Salas. “Artists in Cuba are producing music for the love of the art, and reggaetón is now a world phenomenon.”
ISMAR SANTA CRUZ, 40
VP/Managing director of radio strategy, Univision
Voices around the world attract this enterprising exec
After closing September with 10 radio stations ranked No. 1 in key markets like Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, Santa Cruz calls that success a “testament” to brand leadership. “I make sure all of our teams stay very close to the artist and the industry, but they especially have to build a relationship with the actual consumer,” he says. To stay current, the Guatemalan-born executive scouts new artists “that are doing well on digital platforms in other countries, because they will then start to have a more regional impact.”
Best news for Latin music: “The evolution of new genres, and digital plays a big role in that.”
ROCIO GUERRERO, 29
Global head of Latin content programming, Spotify
Targeting the streaming giant’s Latin listeners
After joining Spotify in its startup stage six years ago, “I took it upon myself to curate the first Latin playlist, Baila Reggaetón, including Daddy Yankee’s ‘Gasolina’ and Don Omar’s ‘Dale Don Dale,’ ” says Guerrero, a Don Benito, Spain, native who now lives in Brooklyn. To date, the playlist has more than 3 million followers, and Latin is the second-biggest genre at Spotify, with more than 500 curated playlists, three of which are in the site’s global top 10. Guerrero’s next goal? “Helping up-and-coming artists, especially women, take their music to a global level.”
Recent Win: "Premiering the first music video/short documentary on Spotify featuring Marc Anthony."
CHELINA VARGAS, 47
Global manager, Latin artists and label relations, Apple
Placing Latin artists on Apple’s airwaves
During the last decade, Vargas’ efforts exponentially increased the possibilities for Latin artists’ global success through iTunes. Now, she’s making sure that reach expands to new audiences through Apple Music and Beats 1 Radio. “Ebro Darden consistently supports Latin artists through his Beats 1 Bangers,” says Vargas, an L.A.based mother of two; she also applauds Zane Lowe’s daily “World Record” feature. She’s proud to champion developing artists across Apple’s platforms. “J Balvin, Carla Morrison, Álex Anwandter and other artists we’ve partnered with on exclusive releases have all experienced great first-time success on the Billboard charts.”
Favorite non-latin artist: “Sia. She became a music powerhouse on her own terms, without compromising her values.”
REBECA LEON, 41
Senior VP Latin talent, AEG Live/Goldenvoice; Manager (J Balvin, Juanes)
Managing two major forces in Latin pop
The dual nature of León’s job may be unorthodox -- she balances her duties as head of AEG Live’s Latin business with managing the careers of Colombian stars J Balvin and Juanes -- but she makes it work. AEG’s Latin division is the largest supplier of talent for the company’s L.A. Live: In one October weekend alone, more than 30,000 fans came through the complex for sold-out Marc Anthony and Marco Antonio Solís shows at the Microsoft Theater and Staples Center, with a combined gross of $4 million-plus. “We had our own Desert Trip,” says the Los Angeles-based León, who is married and calls her three dogs her “kids.”
Since she started managing Balvin in 2014 (with Fabio Acosta), the breakout Colombian rapper has become a global player thanks to collaborations with Pharrell Williams (“Safari”), Justin Bieber (the Latino remix of “Sorry”) and Major Lazer (“Lean On”), a rarity for a Latin act. His “Otra Vez” with Zion y Lennox recently became Balvin’s sixth No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart, and as of mid-October, he had sold 251,000 digital songs in the United States alone, with a combined audio and video streaming count of 260 million.
Internationally, Balvin is a behemoth: He recently became the first Latin urban act to reach 1 billion views on Vevo. “It’s pretty amazing when you find someone who shares your dreams, believes in you and finds a way to make it happen for you,” says Balvin. “That’s what I found with Rebeca.” And Juanes’ already high profile has continued to grow. In the past year, the singer has performed for Pope Francis and with The Rolling Stones, and he’s readying a new album for 2017 with, says León, a major visual component. “Artists are now pushing themselves to make content that goes with their music,” she says. “It’s about the whole concept now -- the visual and the audible. That’s exciting.”
Favorite non-Latin artist: “Bruce Springsteen. His career is about his body of work as an artist, and he has never acted desperately or chased a trend to keep up with what’s ‘cool.’ Very few artists have that clarity.”
METHODOLOGY: A committee of Billboard editors and reporters weighed a variety of factors in determining the Latin Power Players list, including, but not limited to, impact on consumer behavior, as measured by such metrics as chart performance, touring grosses and ticket sales, social media impressions and radio and TV audiences reached; company growth; career trajectory; reputation among peers; local influence; and overall impact in the industry during the last 12 months. Where appropriate, market share was determined using Nielsen Music current-track market-share data through Sept. 22, plus Latin American market-share data from IFPI. Unless otherwise noted, Billboard Boxscore and Nielsen Music are the sources for touring grosses and sales, streaming and radio data.
CONTRIBUTORS: Leila Cobo with Justino Aguila, Judy Cantor-Navas and Griselda Flores.