“The big differentiator [with other streaming services] is the ability to work cross functionally with the other Amazon verticals and services like Twitch and Prime Video," explains Rocío Guerrero, who assumed the newly created position of global head of Latin music at Amazon in January. "We can do things 360. It’s unparalleled and it will live within the Amazon.com ecosystem.”
Prior to Guerrero’s arrival, Amazon Music had been relatively perfunctory with its approach to Latin music, offering playlists and a big catalog but little else. Latin content was hardly ever marketed The launch of LAT!N marks a major investment and commitment to the music.
“What they want is to expand with even more audiences and fans and engage them with Latin music,” Guerrero says. A major thrust is positioning Amazon as a destination that focuses not only on reggaetón and urban music, which dominate the major Latin playlists around the world, but on all genres of Latin music, aiming for Amazon’s "broader" -- as Guerrero calls it -- audience, including older listeners.
“For instance, genres like bachata, salsa and regional Mexican are big in Amazon Music,” she says. “We have a spotlight now. And we can shine a light on all the genres of Latin music.”
Guerrero came to Amazon from Warner Music Latin, but previously spent years overseeing U.S. Latin content in Spotify. Since joining Amazon in late 2019 she has expanded the Latin music global team, hiring Ana Martinez as label relations and Cristina Martin to head marketing for Latin music global and retaining Amaya Mendizabal as senior music curator.
After planning for the first half of the year, the official LAT!N kickoff features an original, acoustic version of Maluma’s global hit “Hawái.” It will be followed by exclusive weekly releases of new renditions by Karol G, Christian Nodal and Romeo Santos during Latin Heritage Month, with more planned moving forward.
At the same time, a catalog program called “Raices,” (Roots), will kick off with a spotlight on Marc Anthony that includes a mini documentary shot in his home, and will highlight Latin catalog content on a monthly basis. Likewise, an emerging artist program, “Rompe,” which is similar to Amazon’s “Breakthrough” program in the U.K., will highlight a local emerging artist every month, beginning with Colombia’s Las Villa and Interscope artist Nobeat.
New content will go beyond music to include five new editorial video series, available in English and Spanish. The first, Género101, will highlight different sub-genres of Latin music, beginning with an episode on corridos tumbaos explained by Natanael Cano. An Alexa component is also in development that will allow listeners to ask their virtual assistant questions and get replies in different artists' voices.
The core of LAT!N, of course, will continue to be playlists -- now expanded to 100 -- including Latin global hits playlist Platino (formerly titled Fuego Latino), new music playlist Hoy, and a Clásicos playlist that features classics for each genre. Says Guerrero: "We cannot commit to just one audience only."