JESÚS LÓPEZ, 62
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
Last Year’s Rank: 80
SPARKED THE LATIN EXPLOSION: Released the year’s most-streamed song, “Despacito,” which tied the record for weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 (16). The label’s follow-up, “Mi Gente,” rose to No. 3.
RIDING THE WAVE: As the longtime head of Universal’s Latin division, López immediately recognized the hit potential of “Despacito,” and it soon became the first Spanish track to top Spotify’s global chart. Meanwhile, its video is the most-viewed clip ever on YouTube (4.7 billion and counting). Then, J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” was nipping at its heels, and, before the end of the year, Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato’s “Echame la Culpa” also reached the Hot 100. “This is not an isolated event,” says López, who capped his banner year with a weeklong sailing trip. “Latin songs are [now] able to compete with songs in English on a global scale.” Icing on the cake: López’s division also co-manages a slew of Latin acts including Fonsi and Balvin, giving UMG even more clout as the genre booms.
MUSIC TREND THAT SHOULD BE RETIRED “Piracy. It’s still an important issue driven by the fact that data on mobile is still expensive in developing markets.”