On the heels of BMG's recent label restructuring, the company's BMG U.S. Latin division is being transformed, according to Maarten Steinkamp, president, international, BMG, into an entity similar to "

On the heels of BMG's recent label restructuring, the company's BMG U.S. Latin division is being transformed, according to Maarten Steinkamp, president, international, BMG, into an entity similar to "what it was about 20 years ago -- a promotion/marketing office to bring Latino product into the U.S."

No new acts will be signed to the roster, said Steinkamp, who spoke during the second day of the 15th annual Billboard Latin Music Conference at the panel titled "Presidents & Artists: The Business Of Music." Steinkamp confirmed that artists currently signed to the label, "which is a very small roster," will continue to be promoted as label acts. Among BMG's biggest names are Juan Gabriel, Alexandre Pires, Cristian and Jerry Rivera.

Steinkamp said the label structure was changed because BMG's share of the U.S. Latin market had shrunk to less than 10%.

"We got our asses kicked here in the last couple of years," said Steinkamp, "so we're taking a change in direction and facing reality."

Apart from introducing BMG artists from elsewhere in Latin America to the U.S., Steinkamp stressed that BMG would accept product from individual artists who are seeking licensing, sales, marketing or distribution. There is no general manager; rather, the office is being run by a chief financial officer who reports to Steinkamp.

"I'm trying to be flexible with the opportunities we have -- that's the recipe for BMG U.S. Latin," said Steinkamp, who added that "if there is a merger with Sony, there will be a big opportunity with Sony in the Latin market. If there is no merger, we'll go down the route we're on now."

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