Lazona.com, Elhood.com enter market.

Two companies have launched social networking sites geared towards Latin users.

Lazona.com (The Zone) belongs to MTV Networks Latin America and is available to users throughout Latin America, in Spanish (although profiles are accepted in any language) and is conceived as a place to break and discover new accts. According to MTV, the site has already registered more than 10,000 acts and 12,000 fans.

Elhood.com, headquartered in Miami, calls itself a “digital entertainment” site and global online community for individuals who share a passion for Latin content, particularly music. Elhood is owned by Hoodiny Entertainment Group, which specializes in digital entertainment.

The promotion and exposure of new acts and new music is at the crux of both sites, which allow users to register from any part of the world. However, given that MTV Latin America reaches audiences on that continent, its users will fall heavily from that area, while elhood has made U.S. second and third generation Latins one of its priorities.

Although Lazona is officially being announced today (June 29), MTV has indirectly promoted it for the past several weeks via its MTV Latin America network by inviting acts to participate in Adiosgarage.com, a contest housed at Lazona. Through Adiosgarage, bands can enter a contest in which five bands are chosen monthly with the winner voted upon by the community. The ultimate winning band will be featured on MTV Latin America show “Alerta.”

The impetus behind Lazona.com was to expose new music that would otherwise not be heard, says Luis Goicouria, VP of new media for MTV Networks Latin America. Although big acts can also be on the site, Lazona will focus on the new.

“There are tons and tons of good music at a grassroots level that we felt we could reach,” says Goicouria. “Lazona is very targeted. Our goal is to bring about a sort of sea of change across the region, so that people all around can hear bands they would never get to hear.”Although Lazona is music-targeted, Goicuria expects the community to broaden in the next months.

As for Elhood, president Demian Bellumo calls it “an entertainment site that begins with music but wants to evolve into all genres.”

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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