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Downtown Music Services Expands Latin American Operations

New Latin hires and promotions will support growing roster that inlcludes Los Tucanes de Tijuana and Santa Fe Klan

With a series of new hirings and promotions throughout Latin America, Downtown Music Services (DMS) is the latest independent music services company to substantially expand its operations in the region.

The company, whose clients include regional Mexican stalwarts Los Tucanes de Tiuana and Larry Hernández as well as rising stars Tito Torbellino and Santa Fe Klan, announced key hires in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, territories that have seen increased signings and a significant uptick in streaming. Its Latin American expansion reflects the growth of Latin overall, as well as the growth of regional Mexican genres and local genres like sonidero in Argentina and música popular in Colombia.

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Although 15-20% of DMS’s artists are Latin, “33% of the company’s total streams are in Latin genres,” says DMS COO Ben Patterson, noting that the company’s Latin growth has been organic.

In the U.S., its Latin A&R is led by VP Raymond Tapia, and Latin music is considered part of the entire company’s core rather than a separate division.

However, he says, “The hirings are because we wanted to have more facetime with our clients as we come out [of] the pandemic. While we’re having success, it makes sense to have teams on the ground and it’s made a material difference with us in Mexico and in Colombia.”

Based in Bogota, Estefanía Parra has been promoted to manager, A&R and partnerships for Latin America, reporting directly Patterson. Parra was previously with management company M3 music, with clients like Bomba Estéreo, Santiago Cruz and Vicente García.

Also in South America, in Buenos Aires, Martin Liviciche and Juan Nuñez transferred to DMS from sister company CD Baby in Argentina. Liviciche assumes the new title of business development covering Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay for both DMS and Downtown sister company FUGA, and Nuñez was named marketing manager, LatAm. They will report to Patterson and Halliday, respectively.

And in Mexico City, Daniela Gutiérrez has been appointed marketing manager of Mexico, reporting to marketing VP Geoff Halliday. Guitérrez has worked as a senior label manager in digital distribution with labels like Seitrack and Prajin Records.

“We added client support services at the time as well, and then at the beginning of this year, as Downtown adjusted its emerging market strategy, we added new folks,” says Patterson.

They include U.S.-based Vianey Ramirez and Argentina-based Ariel Conde, who report to client services director Daniel Miller but will focus on Latin artists.

The timing was right as the world was coming out of the pandemic, especially in Latin America. “It makes sense to have teams on the ground. It’s made a material difference with us in Mexico and in Colombia,” says Patterson.

Unlike many digital distributors, DMS doesn’t cater to DIY acts but rather signs full-service agreements, acting as labels even though they don’t own copyrights. Known clients include regional Mexican icons Los Tucanes de Tijuana, whose entire catalog is administered by DMS and has seen a 200-300% growth in streaming numbers, says Patterson.

Aside from signing more acts (including well-known entities Tito Torbellino and Larry Hernández) DMS has been investing in generating more revenue from artist catalogs and is working closely with Spotify’s new tools and with Apple Music’s Dobly Atmos, investing to bring more content into the format.

The company is also dipping its toes into publishing and now represents the publishing for Z Records, George Prajin’s regional Mexican label, which they signed in January of 2021.

Up next in terms of repertoire, says Parra, “I’m looking a lot at hip-hop. We’ve had great success in Mexico, so we’re looking to replicate that in other territories,” including Uruguay, Colombia and Argentina. But, she adds, there’s also room for other genres. Newly signed electro pop up-and-comer Neoma from Ecuador, for example, is now a Radar artist for Spotify.