Latin

Mario Kaminsky, Legendary Argentine Industry Executive, Dead at 87

Mario Kaminski and Beatriz Kaminsky
Courtesy of Kaminsky Family

Mario Kaminski and Beatriz Kaminsky

Kaminsky founded and led the hugely successful Argentine record label Microfón for four decades.

Mario Kaminsky, the legendary and enterprising Argentine music executive who founded and led one of the country’s most successful record labels, Microfón, died Feb. 1 after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

Kaminsky, who was also a founding member of Argentina’s record industry association, CAPIF (Argentine Chamber of Phonogram and Videogram Producers), founded Microfón in 1955. He helmed the company until it was sold to Sony in 1995, signing iconic Argentine acts like Aldo Monges and Los Chalchaleros. At its height, in the late 1970s, Microfón was putting out up to 25 albums per month.

“[Record store chain] Centro Cultural Del Disco, which had over 60 stores, gave us a diploma that said: ‘364 days of the year, the top selling album belonged to Microfón,’” recalled Kaminsky in his last, extensive interview, with Prensario, in 2019.

That year, Kaminsky was given the Trustees Award at the Latin Grammys for his contributions to the industry.

“Don Mario is an example of what’s required today in the music industry,” said Latin Academy president/CEO Gabriel Abaroa at the time. “The surname Kaminsky represents taking risks, knowing the market, loving music and artists and understanding the craft. An entire generation of rockers and folk musicians developed in Microfón, Mario Kaminsky’s musical laboratory.”

Kaminsky initially founded Microfón as a label for popular Argentine music. But from the onset, Kaminsky was interested in marketing and was a pioneer in packaging his albums with the same standards as imported product. Eventually, he was also a pioneer in video production. Because the majors had no offices in Argentina early on, Kaminsky signed a licensing deal with Ariola to distribute and promote artists like Raphael, Camilo Sesto, Alberto Cortez and José Luis Perales. By the time he sold the company to Sony in 1995, his catalog exceeded 1,300 LPs.

Kaminsky also owned Ion recording studios, which he purchased in 1973 and which is still active.

Kaminsky’s legacy lives beyond his accomplishments, however. Two of his children, Paula and Angel Kaminsky, are also veteran industry executives. Currently, both are working at Universal Music Latin America, the latter as executive vp, and the former as managing director of GTS in the U.S. and as manager to Sebastian Yatra.

Daughter Sonia Kaminsky manages Kaminsky’s ventures in Argentina.

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