Top Stop Music, the indie Latin label home to new urban bachata star Prince Royce, has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Atlantic Records for the U.S. The deal encompasses Top Stop's entire roster, including Prince Royce, salsa star Luis Enrique, PW (Pee Wee) and Gaby Borges, who will all now be distributed through Atlantic Records.
The deal is highly unusual in that it pairs a Latin label that produces mostly for the Latin marketplace with a mainstream label. Most commonly, cross-over acts are released and distributed in Spanish by a Latin label and in English by a mainstream label. In this case, all Top Stop releases, whether in English or Spanish, and including those by artists who have never recorded in English, will be funneled through Atlantic.
The deal builds on an already ongoing alliance between Atlantic Records and Top Stop, which earlier this year announced a partnership to release Prince Royce's albums globally, with a first English-language album slated for early 2012. Prince Royce's self-titled debut is the top-selling Latin album of the year so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has been one of the most notable new artist development successes in the U.S. Marketplace in recent memory.
Top Stop was launched by producer Sergio George and Gregory Elias and had early success with Luis Enrique, who after a lengthy absence from the charts had a remarkable comeback on Top Stop in 2009. The label subsequently struck a distribution deal with Sony Music U.S. Latin. Now, all its titles-both catalog and upcoming-will fall under Atlantic.
"We are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Top Stop through this exclusive new deal," said Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman in a press release. "Since joining together earlier this year to bring Prince Royce into the Atlantic family, we have watched as Top Stop has continued to rapidly evolve into an independent Latin powerhouse. With an exceptional roster of explosive talent, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a focus on the 360 business model, Top Stop's vision is very much in sync with our own."
The deal between Top Stop and Atlantic comes at a time when the mainstream market is again carefully looking at Latin content, particularly in the wake of the new U.S. census numbers. But it is particularly fitting for George, who for years has produced artists that straddle both marketplaces. Such was the case with the Bronx-born and raised Prince Royce, who recorded his debut album in Spanish but whose first language is English, and whose first hit was a bilingual version of "Stand By Me."
"It is an exciting evolution and the perfect fit for Top Stop Music to be partnering with Atlantic Records," George said. "This deal is a great development for our independent label and a very positive indicator of where the Latin music industry is headed."