Latin alternative's great crusader on the 20th anniversary of his label, his booming synch business and why he doesn't mind when his acts get poached.

It's surprising at first to learn that Tomas Cookman, the ­most fervent ambassador of Latin alternative music, spent his teen years as a dyed-in-the-wool punk rocker in New York, hanging out at CBGB, rocking skinny black slacks and pink socks, and ­drumming in a band called The Colors, whose first EP was produced by Blondie drummer Clem Burke. It seems unlikely not because the executive is a married, 54-year-old father of two, but because he lives and breathes Latin music.

Subscribe to billboard biz to continue reading this article and thousands more.

Billboard.biz subscribers get:
  • 24/7 coverage of every genre and sector of the business with over 150 exclusive charts
  • Bulletin: Breaking stories, chart info and analysis sent directly to your inbox every weekday
  • Billboard Magazine iPad Edition: An enhanced version of the magazine with video, photo galleries and playable charts
  • Archives: A rich history of Billboard.biz articles and exclusive charts

Join now or Log In