Latin Radio Programmers Trying to Make PPM Its BFF
Latin Radio Programmers Trying to Make PPM Its BFF

Today, April 26, marks the beginning of the 22nd annual Billboard Latin Music Conference, presented by State Farm in association with AT&T. Following a successful foray in Puerto Rico, Latin music's largest, most influential event returns to Miami Beach's Eden Roc Renaissance with new programming and the biggest names in Latin music -- and will be covering it wall-to-wall, every day this week!

This year's confab features a Superstar Q&A with legendary rock group Maná-whose four members will be together on a conference stage for the first time in their career-as well as intimate one-on-one conversations with pop trio Camila and diva Gloria Trevi. Artists Roberto Tapia, Gerardo Ortiz, Jorge Villamizar, Donato Poveda, and Lenny and Max of Aventura are onboard as panelists; digital sensation Don Omar will speak on the social network panel, hosted by new music website Muzicol; and hitmakers Pitbull and Luis Fonsi will share the stories behind their No. 1 records.

As always, Billboard's yearly gathering is ahead of the curve when it comes to music and business trends.For years, the Latin conference has featured and followed the growth of the digital marketplace and the increasing importance of brands and sponsors.

Billboard this year inaugurates the Marketing Exchange-an afternoon of panel sessions and case studies, hosted by Telemundo and mun2, and featuring major brands including Google, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Tecate, Western Union and Diageo.

Discussions will center on licensing and synchs, striking sponsorship deals and the many different kinds of branding and marketing alliances that can be crafted in a changing business environment.The Marketing Exchange culminates with the inaugural Marketing Awards, with welcome remarks by outgoing Telemundo president Don Browne. The awards will honor outstanding campaigns in print, TV, online and touring (see story, page LM8).

A social networking panel will feature Omar-whose "Danza Kuduro" set the record for the most-watched Spanish-language video on YouTube with more than 100 million views-alongside executives from Google and Facebook. The panel is presented by website Muzicol, which allows performers to showcase their work and get online fan feedback.

The conference kicks off the evening of April 25 with a multi-artist showcase that highlights sounds from multiple countries and genres.

Then, on April 26, the heads of the two leading Latin labels-Universal's Jesus Lopez and Sony Music's Afo Verde-will meet for a one-of-a-kind mano a mano, followed by panels on touring and the state of the Latin industry. Marquee panelists from all over the globe include Lollapalooza Chile producer Maximiliano del Rio; Julio Vega of Anderson Merchandisers, which services Walmart and Sam's Club; and Roberto Cantoral Zucchi, head of Mexico's Society of Authors and Composers.

Day Two features Billboard's now-traditional regional Mexican music panel and BMI's "How I Wrote That Song," where leading artists, including Pitbull and Fonsi, tell the stories behind their records and perform them live. The second day also features Q&As with Maná, Camila and Trevi, and culminates with the first "Radio Rocks the Roc Block" afternoon. The day closes with the Radio Happy Hour hosted by Omar's Orfanato Music Group featuring some of the label's emerging acts.

The spirit of new music will also be present in a series of new-artist showcases interspersed throughout the conference, in tandem with a presentation of Billboard's new Billboard Pro service for developing acts.

And of course, Billboard will salute the top artists, labels, publishers, producers and songwriters in Latin music at the Billboard Bash and the Billboard Latin Music Awards, with Gloria Estefan and Emmanuel receiving the Spirit of Hope and Lifetime Achievement Awards, respectively. The awards show on April 28 will air live on Telemundo from the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami.

Log onto .Biz's Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards Central for the latest news, photos, videos, panels, awards and more from this year's event.

Bienvenidos, y . . . a celebrar!