Venezuelan Phenom Danny Ocean Signs to Warner Music Group: Exclusive

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Courtesy of Warner Music Group 


A month ago, Spotify was calling Venezuelan Danny Ocean the "hottest unsigned Latin artist on Spotify." The accolades came in the wake of a single song, "Me rehuso," which has steadily climbed Spotify’s playlists and now sits at No. 32 on its Global Top 50 chart. The only two other songs in Spanish that are higher are "Despacito" and Maluma's "Felices los 4," both by major superstars. 

Now, Ocean is unsigned no more. The singer/songwriter has been scooped up by Warner Music Group, Billboard has learned, in a joint partnership between Atlantic and Warner Music Latin.

Sources say Atlantic will work Ocean’s English language albums and singles while Warner Music Latina will work his Spanish output.

This isn’t the first time Atlantic tests Latin waters. Back in 2011, the label signed Prince Royce for his English language recordings, but nothing was finally released. Prior to that, in 2005, Atlantic also released El subestimado/The Underdog, by veteran Puerto Rican rapper Tego Calderon, an album that was critically acclaimed but met with little commercial success. 


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Releasing albums in English and Spanish, in fact, has proven to be quite a challenge, save for a handful of artists that include Shakira and Pitbull

The Danny Ocean deal, however, comes at a time when artists more fluidly cross genre and language lines. 

Even so, Ocean’s case is different. His song rose almost exclusively through the Spotify ranks after the service "discovered" it on the Central American viral charts and began to strategically program it onto different artists. By May, Ocean was the first independent artist to have presence on Spotify’s charts in all Latin countries. 

This week, "Me rehuso" is at No. 43 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, and Ocean has already released an English-language version, titled "Baby I Won’t."

As for the song itself, it talks about love lost or separated, and Ocean describes it as “a blend of dance, soca and dancehall.” Set over a repeating drum-machine beat, it’s basic, but has connected with an audience in search of new sounds.