Latin

How These Three Distributors Are Innovating In the Latin Music Space

Anuel AA
Familia Gazmey

Anuel AA

Ingrooves, ADA and The Orchard are offering top Latin artists serious investment — and unconventional deals.

Today’s music distributors do far more than just that: Most also offer a suite of services, from marketing to synch licensing, through flexible contracts that allow artists to own their masters. That’s increasingly attractive to independent-minded acts in the Latin market, where these three companies — which are owned by and work in tandem with major-label groups — are driving hits for its biggest and fastest-rising stars.

The Orchard: Founded in 1997 and acquired by Sony Music Entertainment in 2015, The Orchard was not only among the first digital distributors but also arguably the first to seriously invest in the Latin space. That began when it struck a deal with Argentine label EPSA Music in 2003, which brought label head Laura Tesoriero — now The Orchard’s vp Latin America — into the fold. “We bided our time, quietly got deals in place and brought those deals everywhere we could,” says CEO Brad Navin.

Today, the company controls 22.8% of the total Latin market share, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, with arrangements ranging from large-scale label partnerships (Walter Kolm’s WK Records, Seitrack, Dale Play Records) to joint deals with Sony Music Latin for superstars like Ozuna and Anuel AA; this year, it also struck a global services deal with Brazilian YouTube titan Konrad Dantas (aka KondZilla). “We’re working to help drive what [partners are] doing locally and translate it internationally,” says COO Colleen Theis.

Ingrooves Music Group: When Daddy Yankee partnered with Universal Music Group in September, his deal included global distribution through Ingrooves, which was founded in 2002 and has been wholly owned by UMG since February 2019. Ingrooves’ role in that deal is “validation of how far we’ve come” in the Latin space, says CEO Bob Roback, and the company, which now controls 4.96% of the Latin market, is widening its footprint.

Since teaming up with regional Mexican heavyweight DEL Records in 2010, Ingrooves has partnered with the likes of Pitbull’s Mr. 305, Farruko’s Carbon Fiber, Brazilian label GR6 and indies Star Island and Rich Music. Deals give artists access to Ingrooves’ patented artificial intelligence-based data insights platform, which helps them target the most engaged listeners. From there, artists choose from a range of services: Ingrooves manages relationships with digital service providers and offers marketing advice for Star Island trap star Lunay, while Roback says the company is connecting Rich Music’s Sech (of smash “Otro Trago”) with artists for potential collaborations.

ADA Latin: Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance Worldwide launched a Latin division in July, headed by managing director Juan Paz, the former digital marketing lead for Sony Music U.S. Latin and ex-manager to Bomba Estéreo and Monsieur Periné. “It’s crazy that this is all happening through the pandemic, but it just shows [ADA’s] commitment” to the Latin market, says Paz, who is based in Miami. Already he has hired teams in multiple Latin markets.

Next up: signing “a strong label partner or a few artists” in each territory. ADA Latin will offer the same services as its parent company, which, in addition to global distribution, include digital marketing, product management, radio promotion and synch licensing. It will also work closely with ADA Worldwide and WMG so that, says Paz, “if we see something popping, we will be in the position to make it global.”

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This article originally appeared in the Oct. 17, 2020, issue of Billboard.