North America / United States
Record labels that bet on the first Latin singers in the United States
Currently, visiting a nightclub in the US and listening to a bachata or merengue song is totally normal. The assistants, regardless of their nationality, will end up dancing and chanting the melodies. However, a few years ago it was not this way. Find out which labels made this a reality.
Latin music came to the United States around 1930 thanks to the bolero. Its growth continued to rise within its borders passing through salsa, chachachá and merengue; until genres such as bachata and Latin jazz became popular in order to position themselves as they are today. To a large extent, social networks have contributed to the projection of today’s artists. For the most part, they create strategies that increase their reach by improving their sales and reproductions. In 2019, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which measures the most popular songs in the United States, there were more Latin songs than ever. A true historical record!
These data were revealed by Leila Cobo, Billboard’s vice president for the Latin market.
In 2018, Latin music rose to the fifth place with the highest demand in the United States, according to the music statistics firm BuzzAngle, in charge of rankings for Rolling Stone magazine.
For many, it is a cause for astonishment and they cannot imagine what the previous story is. The first Latin singers had to go a long way, being rejected in some opportunities but, finally, achieving success on American soil. There is a long list of characters who paved the way for other Latin musicians such as: Héctor Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, among others.
Another curious fact worthy of consideration corresponds to the companies that were behind these releases: the record companies. Those record labels that dared to try a foreigner with a proposal in a language other than the United States; They trusted and believed in his talent. Part of this musical revolution, it is thanks to them and their directors.
Record labels that bet on the first Latin singers in the United States
In 1964 this project was born in New York City. It was founded by the American businessman, producer and promoter, Jerry Masucci and the Dominican musician Johnny Pacheco.
Pacheco is one of the most influential figures in Caribbean and Latin music. He is a composer, director, arranger; he specializes in Cuban and Caribbean music such as salsa. This singer also had to go step by step within the US market, train in its streets and go after recognition. In 1960 Pacheco y su Charanga was created, a band that reached more than 100,000 copies on its first album. Alegre Records was the label they signed with. His fame led him to visit countless countries. His experience in the industry made his wish he could help others. After creating Fania Records, he was recognized for promoting the careers of many young artists.
The name of Fania Records was taken from a Cuban song by Reinaldo Bolaño. In part, their great popularity was due to their promotion of salsa. The label supported the greats of the show such as: Rubén Blandes, Willie Colón, Tito Puente, Bobby Valentin, Ray Barretto and Héctor Lavoe, among others.
It was founded in 1956 by Al Santiago, the owner of a record store in the Bronx. It specialized in products born in the 1950s.
Alegre Records represented, for the most part, Latin music singers. In addition, opening its doors to greats such as Tito Puentes, Johnny Pacheco, founder of Fania Records, Eddie Palmieri. In 1975 it was acquired by Fania Records.
Capitol Records (EMI Latin)
It is an American record company that opened its doors in 1942. Its founders were Johnny Mercer and Buddy DeSyIva, American singers. Today it is owned by Universal Music Group, one of the world’s leading record labels. In most cases, it focused on genres typical of its borders. However, they gave their support to the American with Mexican roots, Selena and the Dominican Juan Luis Guerra.
Discos CBS International
At first it was located in Coral Globes and then it was transferred to the city of Miami. Discos CBS supported bands like Miami Sound Machine, in which the renowned singer and songwriter Emilio Estefan participated. In 1991, it was acquired by Sony. It is one of the best known for being part of the CBS television network (Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc). It was founded in 1962 by Harvey Schein. Discos CBS is active despite the number of years since its inception. He is dedicated to different genres, without neglecting music in Spanish.
Warner Music Latina (WEA Latina)
It is a label belonging to Warner Music Group, one of the world powers in the field. Warner Music Latina emerged in 1987 and focused on Latin productions, giving the opportunity to artists such as the Puerto Rican, Olga Tañón. It was the label that gave her her first opportunity as a solo artist with the album Sola (1992), making her a Platinum Record recipient. At present, it has branches in different countries of the world. It has production and publication of music, recorded music and services for artists.
It was an independent record company that operated in New York City until the late 1990s. It focused on salsa, merengue, and Latin jazz productions. He worked with artists such as Marc Anthony, Tito Puente, Cheo Feliciano, Tito Nieves, Celia Cruz, Óscar D´León, among others. RMM Records went bankrupt due to legal problems with artists and a millionaire lawsuit filed by singer Glenn Monroig. In 2001 Universal Music acquired the RMM records catalog. A lot of
Over the years, the American music industry was increasingly influenced by songs in Spanish. Those who do not speak the language have commented that they are attracted to the catchy rhythm and do not hesitate to dance them non-stop. The US public has become less skeptical of Latin rhythms. Recording industry experts say it is due to the rhythms and their proximity to the songs in English.
The creation of platforms such as YouTube and the appearance of streaming platforms has given greater openness to the market. More and more Latinos are succeeding in the US and record companies are deciding to finance their projects.
Merlin, a specialized agency, has been in charge of bringing together different independent record companies and managing the collection of income derived from streaming platforms. Half of the record labels associated with Merlin are American. On the other hand, the number of clicks and visits obtained by Latin songs on video platforms such as YouTube and Vevo are increasing, especially in the case of audiences in the US The number of new immigrants and young people must also be considered. Born to Latino or Latin American parents.
The market continues to bet on Latin music. In fact, in the United States there are a large number of stations focused on this type of music. Users can request the songs of their choice and enjoy them at any time of the day.
What will be the next step for songs in Spanish within the United States?