Is the Latin music industry finally transforming itself into a content provider, regardless of platform? That idea seemed to have taken hold among the top executives speaking at today’s “View From The Top” panel at the Billboard Latin Music Conference in Miami.
A seven-year-old example of an entertainment company using music to re-invent itself as a content provider is Telemundo. President Don Browne said music was at the “heart and soul” of the network’s transformation from a distributor of others’ content to a producer of original material. The most recent examples include youth channel mun2 and Telemundo’s most successful telenovela to date, “Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso.” The soundtrack is to be released by Universal.
A focus on content “ignites a possibility in the creative community,” said Browne.
Universal Latino president Walter Kolm cited another Telemundo partnership around Luis Fonsi’s single “No Me Doy Por Vencido” as an example of a new, non-cookie-cutter approach to marketing. As a result of the single’s use in a soap opera promo for three months, “we saw a pop act sell more than urban” in track downloads.
Another Telemundo soap, “El Zorro,” featured a Spanish-language theme song that was a duet between Sony acts Beyonce and Alejandro Fernandez. Beyonce was not paid a big fee for her participation, said Browne. “She came to us, not because she saw the immediate value, but because she wanted to cross over into [the] Latino [market].”
Fonovisa/Disa president Gustavo Lopez said labels and publishers have to adopt more of that mentality in terms of synch licensing – focusing less on the upfront fee they’ll make and more on how the synch can generate exposure and a share of the income generated by a project.
Camilo Lara, chairman of EMI Mexico and head of A&R for EMI Latin America, said that although radio in Mexico tends to be pop-driven, the business is “becoming less and less becoming dependent on format,” and more based on how fast and how easily it can get in front of consumers. But “whoever tells you he’s doing it properly is wrong. We are all learning.”