Don't miss the Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards, presented by State Farm taking place April 23-26, 2012 at the JW Marriott Marquis, Miami. This year's conference includes Q&As with Pitbull and Jenni Rivera, the 2nd annual Latin Music Marketing Awards, and execs like Target VP of entertainment John Butcher and Univision radio president Jose Valle. Visit BillboardLatinConference.com for details. Registration is open now; register by March 9th for the Early Bird Rate and save $175.
Tropical star Elvis Crespo has signed an exclusive licensing deal with indie Venemusic, the recording arm of media giant Venevision. Under the new deal, Vene will have exclusive exploitation rights to Crespo's music worldwide as well as 360 privileges. The company will also act as Crespo's management arm in Colombia and Venezuela. And in an example of Venemusic's increasing synergies with its parent company, Crespo's first video was produced by Venevision Productions, with the two characters in the video played by two soap stars from Venevision's roster.
Crespo is set to release his first Vene album, "Los Monsters," May 1. The set includes featured artists Toño Rosario, Angel & Khriz, Gocho, El Cata and Jorge Celedón among others. A first single, "Yo No Soy un Monstruo" (I'm not a monster), featuring contemporary merengue group Ilegales, goes to radio this week.
Crespo, formerly the lead singer of merengue group Grupo Manía, launched his solo career in the late 1990s with Sony Discos and topped Billboard's Hot Latin Songs charts with the up-tempo power merengue hits "Tu Sonrisa" and "Suavemente." Both would become international hits and transcend language barriers; "Suavemente," in fact, was included in the playlist Discovery astronauts took with them on their 2006 mission and was recently covered by Nayer, featuring Pitbull.
Crespo subsequently spent time with different labels and now is recording on his own Flash Music. His deal with Venemusic brings him full circle, in a way; Venevision's VP of music, Jorge Pino, was Sr. VP and GM of Sony Discos back in Crespo's day and had a major hand in his success.