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How Universal Label Aftercluv Is Bringing More Latin Acts to the Dance Floor

With operations in nine countries and 14 employees, Universal Music Group label Aftercluv focuses on helping Latin tracks fuel dancefloors across the globe, creating a new avenue for those acts while…

In a few weeks, 2 Chainz, French Montana and Latin Grammy Award winner Nacho will feature on an international version of MC Kevinho’s Brazilian funk hit “Olha a Explosão.” The track has over 700 million combined streams in Latin America between Spotify and YouTube, but Aftercluv, Universal Music Latin Entertainment’s dance division launched in 2015, is betting it has plenty of room to grow in the rest of the world.   

With operations in nine countries and 14 employees, Aftercluv focuses on helping Latin tracks fuel dancefloors across the globe, creating a new avenue for those acts while offering non-Latin stars opportunities to reach different audiences. Fusing everything from American rap and dancehall to Brazilian funk, electro Latino and reggaetón, Aftercluv partners with Universal’s full suite of labels to bridge Latin America, Spain and Portugal with the rest of the dance world.     

“We know the Latin American market better than anyone,” says the division’s managing director, Luis Estrada, a Mexico City punk rocker-turned-executive who served as GM of Universal Latino until 2016. From his Hollywood office on Capitol Music Group’s campus, Estrada has signed 15 acts — including Juan Magán, Raymix and Charly Black — releasing 150 tracks, mostly in English. Brazilian dance-pop producer Bruno Martini has issued five songs with Aftercluv, Universal Brazil and Universal Sweden; combined, those songs have clocked over 200 million streams. Aftercluv’s remix of “Bum Bum Tam Tam,” another Brazilian sensation, has racked up over 100 million streams since Dec. 15, 2017, thanks to features from Magán, J Balvin, Future and Stefflon Don.    

Like Universal’s Latin division at large, Aftercluv offers acts an array of services beyond the core label: booking, management, media, branding and events. It programs three radio shows on top stations in Mexico, Peru and Brazil and one station in Costa Rica; runs the No. 1 dance blog in Latin America that Estrada says reaches 10 million people; and brought boutique British house/techno festival The Social to Mexico City and Bogotá, Colombia.

“Aftercluv was born from the need to have a regional structure focusing mainly on dance/electronic music,” says Jesus Lopez, chairman/CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula. Estrada says he has high hopes for the new star-studded remix of “Olha a Explosão,” because “Brazilian funk comes from Miami bass, which comes from hip-hop. It all comes from the same roots, just like reggaetón comes from a blend of Caribbean rhythms, ragga and rap. It’s all global dance culture living in the ultimate era of fusion. These are exciting times.”

This article originally appeared in the March 24 issue of Billboard.