2019 American Music Awards

Billboard Q&A: LatinPointe CEO David Chavez

On Jan. 18, 4,200 people packed Washington, D.C.'s Union Station for the Latino Inaugural Ball, a celebration of President Barack Obama's taking office. Elected officials, Latino civil rights leaders and top entertainers including Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Lila Downs, Rosario Dawson and Mariachi Los Camperos attended the event, which was a benefit for the planned National Museum of the American Latino. The event's producer David Chavez, LatinPointe CEO and producer of Premios Deportes, the ALMA Awards, the Tejano Music National Convention and other events that count on Latin artist participation, spoke to Billboard recently.

How do you come up with new branded events?

[Tecate] came to us and said, 'here's our concept, bring it to life and talk to Univision about making it happen.' Other times we'll look at creating something that doesn't exist. I like looking at the marketplace and saying, there's a void here and I can create something and I can go to this corporation and get them on board with it, because it fits perfectly within what they're doing. We're probably, in the next 2 - 3 years, going to be moving more in that direction.

Given the poor economic outlook, how do you think it will affect brands' support of Latin music?

I'm optimistic. Being in the Hispanic market, we're fortunate that while other markets are flat, ours is increasing or maintaining. I think there's a move by companies to put more money into the Hispanic market. Where it's challenging will be that there's so many options to choose from. I think what you're going to see is companies, as their budgets shrink, they're going to choose the biggest, most important [events], the ones that have reach and relevance to their companies.

What can artists and labels get from your events?

We got hired by the Kansas City Royals - they hired us to create a one-day Latino day at the ballpark. We got in charge of the first pitch and the National Anthem and created a festival outdoors on the day that they played. We brought Christian Castro and he sang some songs and we had Jay Perez from San Antonio sing the national anthem and Tony Plana from Ugly Betty threw out the first pitch. We did autographs. All of those things are very high-profile, 40 or 50,000 people, a lot of media attention.

Are you doing the Kansas City Royals event again this year?

It'll probably be later this fall, usually it would be in September, and we'll select more than one artist more than likely: one to perform the National Anthem, and another to perform.

When you guys bring an artist to an event, does the artist get a cut of the sponsorship that comes in, or do they get a flat fee?

It's a flat fee. Eventually there could be a setup where we could actually broker sponsorships. One of our strengths is our corporate relationships and our ability to know many of the corporate reps and what they're looking for. I think we can end up helping artists in a big way. Maybe not a lot of them, but maybe the select ones who are interested. Because an artist has to understand too that if someone is going to give them $100,000 or $200,000 to be a title sponsor, there are a lot of return commitments that have to be made. You can't just take the money. If that means meet-and-greets, or saying 'I want to thank Western Union' or Taco Bell from the stage, you've got to do those. Because if you don't, that money's gone. You've got to find the right artist who understands that it's a business deal and it's good for them.

Sometimes management will take the money. I'm sure the artist gets paid, but they're so far away from understanding what the commitments are, that when they're told, 'well, you've got to do this,' they say, 'well, I don't want to do that.' By then the manager has already signed the contract. When we get in there - because we will get into that arena - I will have the artist sitting in on meetings and totally understanding what they're committing to.

Are you planning new branded events, ones you haven't done before?

I am but I think it will be in 2010. So I think what we'll do this year is focus on ALMA and Premios Deportes. And we're developing two or three new properties that will be national in focus, and we're in negotiations with major advertisers to sponsor or be a part of, and we'll roll those out next year.

Music is very strong for us. We're working on taking the Tex-Mex [Tejano] convention that we produce and talking to country music about creating a special there.

So this is some sort of country/Tejano TV special?

The goal there was to shoot it the night before [the convention] here in Dallas, where we produce the event, and to mix country artists with Tex Mex artists and maybe have a comedy host and just create a really cool country/Tex Mex show for a country network. That's who we've been talking to, CMT [Country Music Television]. We were pretty far in negotiations with them and Premios Deportes came and we said, let's switch gears. But now that we've got Premios Deportes and we know what we're doing with it and we like it, we can go back and finish. I want to produce that. I'd love to see that.

I think country music is looking at the Hispanic market. I know they did a couple of surveys a few years ago and tried to figure out how country music and the Hispanic market, what do they mean to each other? I think there is something there that nobody has touched.

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