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‘Bad Bunny and Rosalia are just the tip of a very large artistic iceberg. The creative force of Latin Music is unstoppable.’

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MBW’s World Leaders is an everyday collection by which we flip the highlight towards a few of the most influential trade figures overseeing key worldwide markets. On this function, we communicate to Nando Luaces, CEO of Madrid-based distributor and Latin Music specialist Altafonte. World Leaders is supported by PPL.


MBW has written time and time once more in regards to the international rise of Latin music.

Within the US alone, in 2021, Latin music generated $886.1 million on a retail foundation (cash spent on streaming subscriptions, in addition to bodily and digital music), which was up by 35.4% versus the prior yr.

In April final yr, MBW predicted that the recorded music marketplace for Latin artists in america would generate over a billion {dollars} in income throughout the 12 months of 2022. We identified in April 2022 that 2021’s annual income determine of $886.1 million would solely must rise by an additional 12.9% (+$114m) in 2022 to hit 1 billion {dollars}.

We reported once more in November that, in response to mid-year knowledge launched by the RIAA, on a retail foundation, Latin Music was very a lot heading in the right direction to hit $1 billion in revenues in america final yr, after rising 23% within the first half of 2022, to achieve $510 million. 

Spanish-language music’s prominence on the world stage was additionally highlighted final month by international recorded music physique IFPI, when it reported that, for the primary time, the High 20 largest singles globally in 2022 featured 4 songs carried out predominantly in Spanish.

Moreover, Unhealthy Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti was introduced by IFPI as the largest album, globally, in 2022, after he was named in December because the world’s largest artist on Spotify in 2022 with 9 billion streams, and as Apple Music’s ‘Artist of the Yr’ in November.

Following a stellar yr for Latin Music, Nando Luaces, CEO of Madrid-based music distributor Altafonte, is bullish about its future.

“Essentially the most-listened-to-artist on the earth in 2020, 2021 and 2022 was Unhealthy Bunny, a Latin artist who sings in Spanish and has taken the city and reggaeton sound to a different degree,” says Luaces.

“Rosalia is one other nice instance of a worldwide star. That is simply the tip of a really massive creative iceberg; the artistic drive of our area is unstoppable.”

Luaces is well-placed to touch upon the success of Latin Music. Altafonte is an influence participant within the sector, with a crew of just about 150 folks in 12 nations. Luaces says the corporate is seeing notably quick development in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and the US.

Artists that work with Altafonte held 26 nominations on the Latin Grammys in November, going house with six wins. “We’re extremely proud that as a very unbiased, owner-operated firm, we are able to obtain 26 nominees and win six Latin Grammys,” says Luaces.

“It was one thing extraordinary. We work with huge names in Spanish and Portuguese music, true stars of our area, nice artists who’re very established, however we additionally work with a brand new era of expertise that arrives with power and vitality.”

Based by Nando Luaces in 2011, The Madrid-based distributor has over 150 employees throughout 11 workplaces. It represents a few of the Iberian and Latin markets’ largest breakout stars, together with famous person DJ Alok, in addition to legendary acts like Gilberto Gil.

Current signings embody Peru’s Susana Baca, who began her profession on David Byrne’s Lauka Bop label, and American-Mexican artist Julieta Venegas

Luaces’s personal profession in music began again in 1992 when he based the BOA report label to launch music from native Hip Hop artists.

“We turned a very powerful hip-hop label in Spain and BOA continues to be energetic to today,” he says. “Throughout the 30 years since, me and my crew have additionally been bodily distributors, music publishers and occasion producers.”

Right here, following the information that Spain’s personal recorded music revenues grew 12.43% YoY to €461.9 million ($485.69m) in 2022,  Luaces provides an perception into the expansion of the Iberian and Latin music markets, what differentiates his firm from different gamers available in the market and why Altafonte “thinks like a tech startup”…


Might we begin initially of your profession – What have been you doing previous to launching Altafonte and the way did you first begin working in music?

Way back to I can keep in mind, I used to be surrounded by music, and have at all times been a fan. My mom may be very captivated with music. In our home in a small village in Spain, I grew up listening to classical music and all of the ‘70s hits. We additionally danced rather a lot.

I studied classical guitar and jazz at college, after which in my teenage years, I used to be in a punk rock band. In 1992, I turned excited in regards to the emergence of Spanish hip hop, so I created the BOA label to launch music from native artists that I liked.

We turned a very powerful hip-hop label in Spain and BOA continues to be energetic to today. Throughout the 30 years since, me and my crew have additionally been bodily distributors, music publishers and occasion producers.

Now we have constructed a protracted historical past and expertise within the music trade. I’ve been to hundreds of exhibits and occasions everywhere in the world, and I nonetheless get excited and have enjoyable with the music. Music has at all times been my life, personally, and professionally. I’ll most likely proceed this manner for the remainder of my life.


Why did you launch Altafonte again in 2011?

From the response to artists on the BOA label we may see very clearly what was occurring. Audiences for hip-hop have been changing into international by means of social networks and I felt strongly that DSPs would have the important thing to a brand new, international music enterprise.

We additionally knew agreements with artists would have to be rather more versatile and pleasant, and that we needed to turn out to be a music and expertise firm to answer the complicated and technological administration of rights.

“Audiences for hip-hop have been changing into international by means of social networks and I felt strongly that DSPs would have the important thing to a brand new, international music enterprise.”

Lastly, to be credible throughout the Latin world and to serve our artists, we would wish native workplaces, staffed by skilled, credible native executives within the Latin nations the place we began to function.

These profound adjustments within the music consumption setting and the brand new wants of artists have been, and nonetheless are, an excellent alternative for Altafonte, and I’m very proud that we now have made the corporate a profitable one, primarily based on these beliefs and values.

How is Altafonte positioned within the international music enterprise immediately and the way would you like it to be positioned?

By market share, we’re the fourth largest firm, after the three majors, in a few of the nations we function in. We now have a crew of just about 150 devoted professionals in 12 nations, and we’re nonetheless rising quick, notably in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and the US. I really feel that by specializing in our core markets, and by taking a quality-over-quantity method, we now have constructed an organization that is among the main independents on the earth. The Latin market is among the quickest rising, and we’re very effectively positioned right here.

Through the years we now have created a high-quality artist roster, which we’re increasing daily. We’re additionally a expertise firm with our personal crew of engineers creating our personal back-office interface, a administration and knowledge software that always improves and automates nearly all handbook processes and provides our artists large transparency. We’re very excited by innovation, so we now have a giant alternative for development with every thing that’s coming in AI, metaverse, social media and many others. Lastly, we particularly worth our long-term relationships with our shoppers: artists and labels.


What differentiates Altafonte from different gamers available in the market?

It’s a very aggressive setting, with the majors preventing a fierce battle for market share, both immediately themselves or through their owned distributors. It appears they’ve a whole lot of strain on numbers, charts, High 200 and far much less time for creative high quality.

We predict extra about high quality than amount. We take a curated method. In a sure approach we’re craftspeople. Principally, we wish to deal with our artists and ship them the very best options. Working with artists isn’t just about giving them a giant advance and signing a contract. For us a very powerful factor is to be a superb companion, to take care of a long-term high quality relationship and that each one events work in a win-win mannequin.

“We wish to change the mannequin for music distribution, the place we’re socially accountable, the place we concentrate on being a real companion to artists and construct extra human and private relationships, quite than simply accumulate content material so we are able to say we’re huge.”

We’re critical about creating an organization that’s led by a extra trendy, collaborative philosophy. We wish to change the mannequin for music distribution, the place we’re socially accountable, the place we concentrate on being a real companion to artists and construct extra human and private relationships, quite than simply accumulate content material so we are able to say we’re huge.

Altafonte additionally thinks like a tech startup: we’re quick decision-makers, we create high quality software program that solves actual issues for the artist group, we are able to scale our international automated administration mannequin very simply, and we are able to attain thousands and thousands of individuals as a possible viewers.


The Latin music enterprise has seen extraordinary development in recent times. What are your predictions for it in years to return?

For us it’s shocking to see what we’re attaining in nations world wide and particularly within the US. It’s undoubtedly the results of a brand new era of artists with an excellent artistic drive and world-class manufacturing.

Cultural range, globalization and entry to music in all places has helped us rather a lot, little doubt the rising markets of the world will proceed to develop strongly and convey new sounds and musical kinds to the world.

Altafonte is a small firm in comparison with the scale of the unbiased market, so we’re assured that we are able to consolidate our place as one of many largest and most prestigious unbiased music and expertise corporations because the Latin market continues to develop globally.


What are your predictions for the unbiased music sector?

On the one hand, the scenario may be very tough as a result of the market may be very aggressive and there’s a lot of monetary strain when signing artists. This doubtlessly penalizes the independents. Then again, the market is rising, there are numerous alternatives, new artists, and viral phenomena, to handle this you need to make fast and daring selections. That is the place the independents are stronger.

The massive problem is to adapt constantly to the traits and fixed adjustments. There’s a new era of small labels and artists doing this very efficiently. As well as, range from all factors of view is one thing all of us need, unbiased labels set up nearer relationships with artists and artist high quality has extra weight in decision-making.

I might additionally spotlight the nice work that’s carried out with the associations of unbiased labels in every nation and the way, united, we are able to obtain rather a lot. Now we have to defend the small, the uncommon, the distinctive, the standard, the various, the pure creativity. That is the mission of the unbiased labels.


What are the largest alternatives and challenges within the Iberoamerica music market?

Now we have a present market of just about 600 million Spanish audio system and 240 million Portuguese audio system, rising steadily yearly. Within the US the Latin inhabitants continues to develop and is estimated to account for 25% of music consumption. Now we have very massive audiences utilizing social networks and DSPs.

As specialists in Latin music of all genres, we now have invested in being on the bottom in these nations with native groups, to really be part of this tradition by which we have been born. Our objective is to make this nice group of native artists extra international.

There’s nonetheless a giant problem to unravel the issue of low ARPU in our area. We have to see a rise in paid subscribers on streaming platforms, and higher revenues from free providers like YouTube and TikTok.

If Altafonte’s streaming exercise all occurred in North America or the UK, we’d doubtlessly have 4 occasions the scale of income we do now.


What are a few of the most notable traits (both enterprise or artistic) available in the market that you could inform us about?

TikTok has modified the foundations with short-form movies, and we’re already seeing a whole lot of creativity in any such content material throughout different DSPs.

The enterprise is altering and diversifying with new income streams and extra international assortment fashions. On the identical time, vinyl is right here to remain, which is nice information for music followers.

Though a worldwide recession is looming over our heads I see the music trade with optimism and resilience.


Altafonte lately acquired licensed B-Corp standing. What was the importance of securing this standing?

We live in occasions the place many individuals are misplaced and struggling. Many individuals don’t discover function in what they do and the way they work. In a approach, we live in an excellent international disaster of values and sense of life.

We solely must see the diploma of violence, stress and frustration that surrounds us, even in probably the most developed nations, and for the sake of our futures, that should change.

We imagine that organizations are additionally liable for driving social change. Individuals want the next function to work for, to share and to offer; we have to work in protected and pleasant environments the place human relationships are essential. Working to the values of a B Corp helps us to realize this objective, it helps us to point out others that it’s attainable, that it’s not a romantic utopia. For us, it’s a approach of exhibiting our crew that we’re critical about their wellbeing, and I imagine this shared function helps us all to really feel that we’re contributing to a tradition and mission that’s deeper and extra purposeful than simply being profitable.


If there was one factor you can change in regards to the music enterprise, what would it not be and why?

There’s a downside with streaming that we should remedy urgently. There are nice artists, creating extremely good works, however they aren’t extremely popular with youngsters (large customers of streaming), and so they have a whole lot of issues to easily make a dwelling from their work.

We see this clearly within the low YouTube, Spotify, Apple, or Amazon revenues of many artists, even with artists who promote a whole lot of tickets however don’t generate digital income. The platforms should discover a fairer approach of distribution that helps skilled and high quality artists [receive] an honest earnings for his or her work.

I might additionally spotlight the change the place music corporations appear to wish to turn out to be credit score establishments delivering meaningless advances within the type of loans as the one method to do enterprise. This, for my part, is a good perversion within the music enterprise. This struggle with money as the one weapon will not be helpful to most artists, who want help, partnership, and steerage within the medium and long run.


World Leaders is supported by PPL, a leading international neighbouring rights collector, with best-in-class operations that help performers and recording rightsholders around the world maximise their royalties. Founded in 1934, PPL collects money from across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. It has collected over £500 million internationally for its members since 2006.Music Enterprise Worldwide

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