California Copyright Conference: The Future of the Latin Music Market

February 9, 2011 Off By Eric Jensen

On February 8, 2011 The California Copyright Conference hosted a panel discussing the current state and future possibilities of the Latin music market, organized and co-moderated by Eric Palmquest – Director, Disney Music Publishing and Marissa Lopez, Associate Director, Latin Writer/Publisher Relations at BMI.

The panel featured:

Richard Bull – President of The Sixth House, a management company with touring, label, licensing, publishing, and corporate marketing arms.
Tomas Cookman – CEO, Nacional Records & Cookman International, and founder of the Latin Alternative Music Conference.
Yvonne Drazan – Creative Director, peermusic
Nir Seroussi – VP, Marketing and A&R, Sony Music Latin
Kike Santander – Multi Grammy Award winning songwriter and producer, Chairman of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (LARAS) and CEO of Santander Records.

Marissa Lopez (whose career began as a Latin radio DJ) kicked off the festivities with a mix of regional and Latin music styles. Although the topic of the panel was the decline in Latin music sales, particularly in digital, the panelist were uniformly upbeat and excited about the wide open future for Latin music.

Richard Bull and Tomas Cookman have had strong successes with synch licensing and developing strategic partnerships with other companies both inside and outside of the music industry. The Sixth House’s partnership with peermusic has been particularly rewarding for both parties. A common theme was the need to exchange services and develop diverse partnerships. Each situation is unique in today’s marketplace. Cookman: “There is no right or wrong answer. If it works for you, it works for you.”

Panelists agreed on the need to control master recordings to simplify the process of clearing masters and publishing rights in one shot. Tomas Cookman described his strong relationships with music supervisors as being build on his ability to clear tracks for synch within a few hours.

Technology has created easy access to a global marketplace which raises the bar for music quality…the best music wins. Kike Santander passionately described how his commitment to music drove the decision to start a label at a time when others a running in the other direction.

Except for younger fans who follow edgier, alternative artists, the general Latin market has not been as quick to accept digital downloads. However, this market skews much higher on the use of mobile devices according to Richard Bull.

When asked how to encourage fans to engage in the digital download market, Nir Seroussi stated that the concept of music ownership is going away. Fans want music anytime, anywhere, and labels must think of themselves as service businesses. The future lies in building strong artist brands and alliances with a broad range of business partners.