Universal Music Latino was the Hot Latin Songs Label of the year with 21 charting titles, including Luis Fonsi’s “No Me Doy Por Vencido” and Paulina Rubio’s “Causa y Efecto” at No. 1. The thrust behind the chart toppers, says label president Walter Kolm, began even prior to the recording of the albums, with a coordinated A&R strategy.

“We work for a long time with our artists on the creative and production aspects of the albums,” he says. Rather than simply waiting for an artist to deliver an album, “as a label, we believe we have the resources within the company and we sit and work hand in hand with the artist [in developing repertoire]. It’s a team approach.”

In the case of Fonsi, who topped the Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year chart, Universal released a first single, “No Me Doy Por Vencido,” in May 2008 in two distinct versions: A pop version produced by Armando Avila and a ranchera version produced by Homero Patrón. The song’s Mexican trumpets lent it to crossover. “Aquí Estoy Yo,” a second No. 1, broke rank by featuring Fonsi with three other male artists—an attractive component that boosted the song to No. 1, coupled with the launch of Fonsi’s first U.S. tour.

In the case of another chart topping act, Wisin & Yandel, who had three No. 1 songs (including their current single, "Gracias A Ti," with Enrique Iglesias), the label made a concerted effort to work the duo—an urban act—as if it were a pop act, taking advantage of their crossover appeal. Universal is now planning a release of Wisin & Yandel remixes for the European market. “We work for the consumer,” says Kolm. “And we can see when the consumer says 'enough' or wants more. That gives us the information to make immediate decisions and plan long-term.”