Universal Music Latin Entertainment, whose labels control the largest share of Latin music sales in the U.S., has made The Axis Agency its preferred partner in seeking brand alliances and licensing content to companies marketing to Hispanics.

The one-year, non-exclusive agreement covers the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and is an outgrowth of several campaigns that Axis has brokered with Universal’s Latin acts over the last few years, says Axis president Armando Azarloza.

Recent ones have included Absolut Vodka’s “Lights Out” campaign last summer, in which reggaeton act Angel y Khriz performed and signed autographs at clubs, and had their likeness and music used at Absolut promotional events and had an Absolut insert in their “Showtime” CD.

An announcement on a beauty product campaign with a UMLE pop artist, with her music to be used in radio spots, was expected shortly.

Axis is shopping opportunities with UMLE artists for brand promotions such as meet-and-greets, product placement in videos, branded text messages and Web sites, promotional downloads and album release parties. The Axis Agency is part of the Interpublic Group, a holding company for several of the world’s largest advertising agencies.

Artist compensation varies according to the deal, says the label’s Juan
Fernando Rivera. As for what the sponsorship outlook is like in a down
economy, Rivera said, “They are willing to spend but they are being very cautious about what they are going to spend on. They want a properly constructed package. They want to make sure that they get it right.”

Azarloza says the UMLE partnership gives brands a way to access the Latin music market share leader, working in tandem with the agency. Instead of Axis and the label pursuing deals separately, "now we’re going together and targeting companies."

According to Nielsen SoundScan, UMLE's labels have made up nearly 49% of U.S. Latin album sales so far in 2009.