Name: Alex Lopez Negrete
Title: President, CEO/CCO, Lopez Negrete Communications
Panel: Branding For Music/Music For a Brand (Tuesday, April 27, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.; more information at billboardlatinconference.com.)

At this moment in time, what most worries you about the music business?

I have always been partial to the artist and the creation of powerful art. So, I naturally worry that, as the industry goes through its blues and transforms into the next best version of itself during this difficult period, it won’t perform its sacred duty as being the pipeline for great art to the people. How many great performers, writers, artists and works will never see the day because of P&L-induced myopia? How many artists will have to compromise their artistic beliefs because of the same? We are living a time of significant change – and this is when you need art the most. However, I do take comfort in knowing that in a democratic system such as ours, powerful art has a way of being unstoppable, of always finding a way to be seen, listened to, experienced. And, today’s youth is unbelievably resourceful – so, I do believe we will witness great art despite of it all.

What do you plan to do in Puerto Rico the week of April 26 besides attend the conference?

One would hope that it would include plenty of Piña Coladas, beach time and beyond. But that most likely won’t be the case. You see, at this time, my agency is forming a Music & Content Development unit, spearheaded by Rudy López Negrete. As a proud sponsor of the conference, we are using this opportunity to announce the creation of this unit to the music industry – so, beyond my panelist duties, I imagine that Rudy will have a slate of appointments to meet with labels, agents and artists throughout the week. We’ll be busy.

What one revenue source do you think could make up for the drop-off in CD sales?

The most obvious source is performance revenue. However, the economy has challenged the consumer in ways that have made this opportunity less than artists and performers had hoped for. The other sources include participation and collaboration directly with brands who are trying to actively market to the Latino audience. There is a powerful mix there, as artists align their “brands” with the right consumer brands. If handled properly, this is a win/win – not only are there enhanced revenue opportunities for the artist, but the brands also provide opportunities for artists to access channels to connect with audiences that they may not have had access to previously or simply, their labels were unwilling or unable to invest in.

What's the most typically Cuban/ Spanish/Mexican/PuertoRican/Colombian (whatever your origin is) thing you've done or said recently?

Way too many to count every day. I work in an agency with 170+ Latinos. ¡Se me sale lo Mexica todos los días! Too late to keep tabs!

How many record companies do you think will exist in 2011?

Actually, believe it or not, without getting specific, I see more “record companies” than there are today. But, they will be – or start becoming – a different kind of record company. They will be more agile, less stuck to old models, myths and structures, and more artist-centric and brand-friendly with sales distribution models that are more flexible and adapted to today’s consumer and the technology that drives them. Those that don’t take that path, well, will start fading away.


For more info on this year's Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards, presented by State Farm in association with T-Mobile, visit billboardlatinconference.com.