Independent Latin artists have lost their right to complain about labels not signing them, according to "The Evolving Digital World" panel at the Billboard Latin Music Conference in Miami.
Before the digital age, "the biggest hurdles for a new artist was getting distribution, exposure and getting compensation for it," said MyContent.com  founder Fabio Jafet, whose site allows artists to set up their own song stores at their own price points. "MySpace is generating checks from ad revenue and you're not getting money if you're unsigned," said Jafet, but artists can get paid through Paypal on MyContent.com.
The panelists presented several other music monetization options, such as branded download cards. Felippe Llerena's iMusica company did a giveaway in Mexico with Banco Santander by which the bank's customers could redeem leftover credit card reward points for music downloads. Digi Cards, another company, produces download cards for DJ artists such as Paul van Dyk in Europe, and has handed out Burger King-branded download cards at concerts.
In a further opening of options, Warner/Chappell is launching a digital initiative by which to market and distribute repertoire by its songwriters. It will first offer releases by Puerto Rican band Polbo and Guatemalan group Bohemia Suburbana. Alfonso Perez-Soto, VP of business development at Warner Music Latin America, said not all Warner/Chappell songwriters will be part of the new initiative. An A&R process will decide which acts will get the "love and care" in digital marketing.
Now in its 20th year, the Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards runs April 20-23 at Eden Roc, a Renaissance Beach Resort & Spa in Miami.