In one of the first major moves since Jorge “Pepo” Ferradas took over as president of Univision’s Music Division, the media company is expanding its online music strategy with the launch of a talent incubator called U-LAB.
The venture is a creative talent development partnership between Uforia Music, Univision’s music platform, and Casa Limon, the record label of Spanish musician and producer Javier Limón.
The initiative will allow emerging musicians to take part in a fellowship to develop and showcase their music, with input and direction from a host of experts that includes superstar Alejandro Sanz and Latin Grammy winner Jorge Drexler. Both are creative associates of the venture.
U-LAB will also serve as a breeding ground for music journalists and digital creators who will help in the distribution of the music in multiple platforms.
“With Uforia Music, we want to innovate how music is created and distributed to audiences across different vantage points,” said Ferradas. “Uforia now allows for the development of new talents in a way that we consider is unique in the market. Being able to offer this is a big achievement and a big satisfaction for Univision.”
“This initiative was created to foster young talent, support social good and innovation – something much needed in Miami and in the music industry overall in order to revamp,” said Sanz in a statement.
U-Lab’s first crop of artists all come from Berklee College of Music and were handpicked by Limon, who is producing their recordings, financed by Univision. Ferradas says U-LAB plans to launch three new acts between now and the end of the year, and a first showcase is planned for late September. However, he adds, “Univision has no plans to become a label.”
Instead, the company is forging closer ties and partnerships with different labels, looking to develop new music projects both from within and out of the U.S.
In turn, Uforia is also expanding its editorial team, now led by newly appointed senior editor Nuria Net.
Net, the co-founder of Remezlca.com (and a former collaborator with Billboard) was most recently a founding digital editor at Fusion, Univision’s joint venture with ABC.