Latin Conference: Juanes on Fan Engagement, 'Breakfast & Twitter' To Start His Days

Juanes at the 25th Annual Latin Billboard Conference and Awards in Miami, FL. 

There is no doubt that the music industry has changed, shifting much of its focus on digital and social media.

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And there is no question that one of the stars who has best adapted to that new environment is Colombian rocker Juanes, who has more than 9 million followers on Twitter. His live streaming concert on terra.com last month broke records for the media company, with more than 1 million viewers.

Speaking at the 25th Annual Latin Billboard Conference and Awards in Miami, Juanes said artists need to embrace this new world.

“We all remember the big record stores in Miami and in New York where you would buy your music. That doesn’t exist anymore,” Juanes said. “It’s all digital.”

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He says that the change is driven by the way music is consumed today. “Young people don’t buy records. They listen to their music on Vevo or Rhapsody,” Juanes said. Admitting that the transition has not been seamless, he continued, “There are still unanswered questions and issues to resolve, but this is the future.”

Twitter, for example, has become part of his daily life, he said. Busy with the promotion of his last album “Loco de Amor” (“sometimes I think it’s the best album of my career,” he says), his Mi Sangre Foundation that helps victims of anti-personnel mines, and his personal life as a father of three kids, he says it is important to remember to connect with fans. His usual day starts with “breakfast and twitter,” he said.

Another example: On Monday, before traveling to Miami, he was in New York for The Today Show and he posted a live photo of their sound check on Instagram. 

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“The good thing is that you are connecting directly with fans,” Horacio Rodriguez, senior director of digital marketing for Universal Music’s Latin Entertainment division in U.S. and Mexico, told Juanes. “You in particular, you’ve really had a very direct relationship with your fans. How do you nurture that relationship, which has helped you?”

“Technology is the artist’s friend,” Juanes said, adding that it’s a connection on a much more personal level than someone going to a concert or buying a record at a store. He gets to know where his fans live, how old they are, what they do for a living.

 “It’s the whole world at your hands,” he explained, excitedly, and added how he has discovered talent through links that people send him.

“The most important thing is to be yourself,” Juanes said.