Former musician builds strong ties with artists—and Sony’s mainstream labels
In its fourth year under Afo Verde’s leadership, Sony Music took a leap in the U.S. Latin digital track market, jumping from 38.8% in market share in 2012 to 44.6%, and outpacing Universal. Sony’s Latin album share grew from 28.5% to 30.5%, powered in part by Marc -Anthony’s 3.0, the top-selling Latin album of the year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Expect more in 2014. Verde’s recent signings include Prince Royce and Carlos Vives. (Artists praise the A&R acumen of Verde, who cut his teeth as guitarist of Argentine reggae band La Zimbabwe and won a Grammy in 1998 producing for Fabulosos Cadillacs.) And his strategy of working with Sony’s mainstream labels will open doors for those artists. Royce, Pitbull and Romeo Santos are joint signings with RCA, and the alliance also includes Shakira’s new LP in March, as well as Carlos Santana’s first all-Spanish-language set.
Another big 2014 focus is the World Cup. Sony has exclusive rights to the official album and is working on the official theme as well.
“There are a thousand ways to generate opportunities,” Verde says. “The industry will continue to shift. What will never change is a great song. That’s our flag: Great artists recording great songs.”