Billboard Latin Music Conference Panel: Latin Music, Branding Execs Discuss New Business Models

Michael Seto
Panelists gather at the “What the Heck is the New Business Model” panel on April 23 at the 24th annual Billboard Latin Music Conference in Miami. (Michael Seto)

“What the Heck is the New Business Model”
Labels and artists are working with brands and agencies in increasingly innovative ways to promote and finance music. Key players tell us about their key deals.

Bruno del Granado, CEO, RM Entertainment Group/Manager, Ricky Martin
Javier Farfan, Senior Director of Cultural Branding, PepsiCo
Claudia Hoyos, General Manager, Marca Colombia
Ruben Leyva, senior VP of Business Development, Latin Region, Spain & Portugal, Sony Music
Fernando Rodriguez, CEO, Terra Networks USA
Rafael Toro, Director of Public Relations, Goya Foods

The name of Tuesday afternoon’s panel is also a valid question the music industry has been grappling with since the advent of the Internet.

RM Entertainment Group CEO Bruno del Granado, who moderated the panel, contends that with the coming of the digital era, the old music business model has been destroyed. No longer are traditional sources such as radio, print and TV considered “gatekeepers” to a musician’s success, he suggested, but rather non-traditional gatekeepers are emerging with the potential to expose new talent and propagate the future of music. What are these new non-traditional gatekeepers? Some of them comprised today’s panel of speakers.

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Multi-national web portal Terra Networks is one. Terra Networks USA CEO Fernando Rodriguez spoke of his company’s 360-degree music platform approach.

“We present music with a positive, cross generational approach to reach consumers,” Rodriguez explained.  Terra also has seen the impact of working with brands like Pepsi. “Working together with a label and a brand multiplies the metrics and value for our company,” he said.

PepsiCo senior director of cultural branding Javier Farfan said the soft drink company has been investing more than ever in emerging talents, helping them develop through their career. He feels the music industry has grown antiquated, however, and suggests that music labels should be doing more to support their young artists, to which the crowd responds with a loud ovation. Farfan, the most unfiltered of the group, also complained of rights and clearance issues when dealing with publishing companies.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said. “[Publishing companies] must come up with a different model on how to work with us, especially when social media platforms are involved.”

Marca Colombia GM Claudia Hoyos spoke about her company’s ad campaign, using the tropical music of Fonseca to brand her company and the country of Colombia as a whole. Together, the partnership proved fruitful for Fonseca and Colombia, Hoyos said, pointing to a successful marketing campaign that ran through Times Square.

Goya Foods director of public relations Rafael Toro spoke of the role his food company has played in promoting musicians. The 75-year-old company sponsors concert tours, uses social media, and makes charitable contributions to maximize the exposure of musicians.  

“Today’s music industry depends on third party partnerships,” said Ruben Leyva, senior VP of business development for Sony Music’s Latin Region, Spain and Portugal. Leyva feels that that the music industry is not in decline. “I think the music industry is back and stronger than ever with all the different platforms available today,” he said.

The key for Leyva is getting an understanding between what the artist wants and finding the right brands that share the same goal. He brought it the point home, saying, “we are an industry that has learned the lesson of the last few years; young aspiring artists have more tools than they ever have before to reach out to their fan base.”


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