When Guatemalan singer/songwriter Ricardo Arjona's recording contract with his longtime label Sony BMG ended this year, he didn't attempt to renew or start a bidding war among the other majors. He easily could have. Arjona is one of the top names in Latin music, an artist whose songs routinely top charts in the United States and Latin America (in the States alone he's had 27 songs on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, including three No. 1s and 13 top 10s).

But as one of the top selling and touring acts in Latin America, Arjona wanted a marriage of "love, instead of convenience." So, he went to Warner Music, lured not by a 360 deal but a traditional label contract. Now, Arjona is preparing for the worldwide Nov. 18 release of his Warner debut, "Quinto Piso," and beginning preparations for a worldwide tour that begins in spring 2009.

1 What exactly did Warner tell you that convinced you to sign with the label?

I've known [Warner Music Latin America chairman] Iñigo Zabala for many years and he's one of the few remaining people in the industry who can still have a dialogue with an artist. Given the needs of the market, this has become an industry of financiers, not creatives. And because of that, the distance between an artist and a label president can be enormous. I like to dedicate myself to writing songs and making albums. When people ask me, after I'm done with an album, what my objective was, the answer is "nothing." My objective is in that recording. Of course, I'll help the release of the album. But the album has to defend itself. And that is now the job of the label, based on the belief they have in the project.

2 Don't you feel artists today need to do more than ever before to help that album?

Click here for the full article, including details of Arjona's songwriting and creative process, his approach to writing commercial songs and more.

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