Los Angeles-based label Nacional Records and Randall Poster’s Search Party Music have joined forces to create El Search Party, a new venture focusing on Latin music placement and licensing. The partnership comes as Nacional and others are reporting substantial increases in revenues and interest in music syncs by Spanish-speaking artists coming from both the Hispanic and general markets.
“In 2012, our licensing business was up nearly 40% over the preceding year,” says Josh Norek, Nacional Records VP of Business Affairs, who will head up El Search Party together with Search Party music supervisor and producer Meghan Currier. “It’s the fastest growing and most significant part of our label business.” Norek predicts that Nacional’s 2013 licensing revenue will rise 60% over 2012.
Nacional, known for marketing a disparate roster of indie acts so successfully that it turned the loosely defined term "Latin Alternative" into an internationally recognized genre, controls many of its label artists’ publishing via its publishing arm, Canciones Nacionales. El Search Party will also work with other labels, including Fania and Sony Latin, to offer music for licensing in any Latin style, and not only from Nacional artists, Norek notes.
“Part of our combination is built on the fact that the Latin market is exploding,” says Poster, Search Party Music's creative director and a celebrated music supervisor whose movie projects have included Wes Anderson’s films. “On the other hand, I think we are going to see more and more multicultural campaigns; American pop bands next to Mexican pop bands or Colombian bands.”
Norek and Nacional head Tomas Cookman first worked with Poster when he called on them to source music for a 2011 Target holiday campaign.
“We’re seeing a lot more general market uses of Latin music by brands and networks,” says Norek, citing Nacional’s recent placement of 25 songs to ESPN for its baseball programming. “You’re encountering these opportunities where Latin is just going to be part of the mainstream experience. We like that Randall has recognized that early on.”
Like Norek, Muuseme’s Robert Filomena reports an increase in song placements for the general market, including a Sprint campaign for NCAA March Madness using a song from FACA, a band from Tijuana.
Filomena and his partner Daniel Salcedo founded Muuseme in 2010 as a clearinghouse for music by indie artists from Latin America and Spain, as well as U.S. Latino acts, allowing artists to reach larger markets and profit from their music. (By comparison, a project that commands a $50,000 license fee in the United States may fetch $5,000 for use in a market the size of Colombia.)
The company has seen a spike in business, earning more in the first four months of 2013 than in all of 2012, according to Filomena.
Muuseme provided music from Chilean, Mexican and Spanish bands for a Bloomingdale’s campaign, a match for department store spots targeting the U.S. [English-speaking] mainstream that could have seemed unlikely.
“When I started talking with Muuseme about looking into their catalogue for more international musicians it was really exciting,” says Sasha Levinson, the writer/director for the Bloomingdale’s campaign. “[The music] had no language or cultural barriers whatsoever.”
 “The music we’re offering is not as culturally identified -- not as ‘Latin’ -- as people might think,” adds Filomena.
Sonic branding company Man Made Music just created a new audio identity for Univision, including theme music for its television programming and diverse elements for its radio stations in different parts of the country. Man Made subsequently hired composer and music supervisor Jose Luis Revelo for the new position of director of Business Development and Music Strategy, Latin Markets.
“We’re looking for ways to develop the Hispanic side of business for clients we already have,” says Revelo, adding he is working with companies “that are in the process of retooling their image in front of a new generation of Hispanics.” Man Made, a shop for original compositions and licensing of existing music whose clients include AT&T, is also working with brands from Latin America that are trying to get a foothold in the U.S.market.
Revelo notes that the tastes of the current Hispanic market, focused on a younger generation of Latinos and making up more of the mainstream than ever before, are in tune with the general market in its embrace of more subtle Latin sounds.
“One thing that surfaced in our research about the younger generation of Latinos is that what appeals to them does not have to be obviously Latino,” says the Colombian-born Revelo, who lived his early years in Panama and now resides in New York.
“Ten years ago maybe you could have slapped some congas on a song and called it a day. The younger generation rejects that approach.”