VP of Latin purchasing, sales and marketing for music, movies and books, Anderson Merchandisers
Walmart is the biggest seller of Latin music in the United States, and the man who heads those marketing efforts, via Anderson Merchandisers, is Julio Vega.
"He has been the voice for Latin music within Walmart for many years," Venetian Marketing Group CEO Jeff Young says. "Largely because of him, Latin artists have been available to the masses."
In the past year in particular, the retailer's multicultural department has more aggressively supported Latin acts, with more Latin artists featured in "Acceso Total," the acoustic performances filmed for in-store and online play.
Vega's success stories include Maná, whose album Drama y Luz has been the top-selling Latin title so far this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and indie act Intocable, which struck a distribution deal directly with Walmart and offered its album at an aggressive $8 retail price.
Beyond established acts, Walmart has been crucial in taking newer acts like Prince Royce and Gerardo Ortiz to different sales levels. These are artists who "are aimed beyond first-generation Hispanic [music fans]," Vega says. "The bilingual consumer, the multigenerational consumer-those are the people we need to be more conscious of."
For now, Vega's biggest challenge is the decline in the number of new Latin titles. "Your new releases are the lifeline," he says. "We need the support of the industry to develop new artists, but we're releasing hardly anything and it's showing."