Sony Music Spain's Latin Grammy Nominees Are Leaving for Las Vegas

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From present sensation Rosalía to Rozalén and rock group Vetusta Morla, the presence of nominees from the label is an indication of Spanish artists rising impression within the Int´l Latin market

Rosalía’s nominations in 5 classes of the 2018 Latin Grammys not solely confirmed her spectacular arrival on the worldwide scene upfront of the discharge of her new album El Mal Querer, which debuts at No. 2 on the Latin Albums chart this week. The Barcelona flamenco-pop singer’s exhibiting can be indicative of the sturdy presence of artists on her label Sony Music Spain amongst Latin Grammy nominees, and, this week, on the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas, the place the Sony Spain contingent can be onerous to disregard.

“We have about 70 individuals touring,” Jose María Barbat, Sony Music’s President for Spain and Portugal, tells Billboard.

In addition to Rosalía and her entourage, the contingent contains Rozalén, a singer-songwriter from Madrid who has topped Spain’s charts however has but to carry out within the U.S. — she is up for awards in each the track of yr and album of the yr classes.

“I used to be not so shocked that Rozalén was nominated, however that she was nominated within the main classes,” feedback Barbat. “Think of what number of albums have been produced in Latin America this yr. The incontrovertible fact that she made the brief checklist [for album and song of the year] is essential.”

Rosalía can be competing for track of the yr, in addition to for file of the yr, for “Malamente.” The Sony Spain nominees additionally embrace Vetusta Morla, Spain’s main rock band, which has solely bought solely negligible copies of its 5 albums within the U.S., and Tote King, a hip-hop artist from Seville.

Barbat says that the nominations signify an initiative by Sony Spain that marked a turnaround from the corporate’s earlier relationship to the Latin Grammys (or lack of 1.)

“In the previous, the Latin Grammys have been seen as `a Latin factor,” explains Barbat. “Artists who needed to go to the Latin Grammys must pay for it themselves. I actually would have informed you ‘it’s not my cup of tea.'"

Barbat pinpoints his personal enlightenment in regards to the significance of the Latin Grammys for the corporate’s artists when he attended for the primary time in 2014, the yr singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat was celebrated because the Latin Grammy Person of the Year.

Since then, he stresses, the Latin Grammys have been acknowledged by Sony Spain as an necessary promotional alternative for its artists, and the label is supporting them with publicity campaigns “earlier than the nominations, after the nominations and through Latin Grammy week.

“This is the yr that we will say it paid off,” he provides.

Barbat, who grew to become president of the label’s Ibero- American division final yr and has been with the corporate for over a decade, lays out a number of components that led to an total shift within the label’s technique for Spanish artists beginning over the previous decade. That change was sparked by Spain’s financial disaster (2008-2014) and a recorded music business that crashed in 2002 and had its worst yr in 2013, earlier than streaming cast the trail to a comeback; in addition to the truth of the nation’s altering demographics.

“The Spanish market is an getting older market,” says Barbat, who met with Billboard in a Barcelona resort bar to speak in regards to the awards earlier than leaving for Las Vegas. “The common age of the inhabitants could be very excessive, the demographic curve hits within the European common, which is far larger than Latin America.” That getting older listening public displays the notable absence of younger Spaniards who’ve left Spain for work alternatives in different nations, Barbat notes.

“We are in a shrinking market. In a enterprise that’s marching definitively towards digital – and digital by definition skews younger – we actually had no selection however to not put our power into Spain alone,” he says. “So that was a imaginative and prescient: we want artists [whose music] will be consumed a minimum of in Latin America. We began to focus our creative imaginative and prescient on artists who might journey, whose music might be related in Latin America.”

Spanish music’s push towards different markets has additionally been propelled by the artists themselves.

“For a few years in Spain it was like in Brazil: that they had a really sturdy dwelling market, that allowed them to tour virtually the whole yr and with excellent bodily gross sales,” Barbat says. “It was a market that allowed you, if you happen to have been doing properly, to make some huge cash and never journey overseas. But the disaster, and proper earlier than it – 10 or 11 years in the past, the market grew to become one which was not so fascinating. An artist doing 100 live shows a yr might do solely 30. And there have been a whole lot of locations in Spain the place live shows have been sponsored by the native authorities – now you must dwell from the ticket gross sales. And on prime of that, much less individuals began going to the exhibits.

“So, a whole lot of artists noticed their incomes happening, and so they stated, hey, we have to go to Argentina, we have to go to Mexico; I wish to go to the United States, I wish to go overseas.”

In the previous, some Spanish artists, notably Alejandro Sanz, and a long time earlier than him Julio Iglesias – made Miami the bottom for careers that efficiently courted success in Latin America. They primarily grew to become, as Barbat places it, “Latin artists 100 p.c,” shedding their identities as Spanish artists, a minimum of so far as audiences outdoors of Spain have been involved. The government credit the Sony-signed group La Oreja de Van Gogh, which had enormous success in Latin America within the early and mid-aughts whereas nonetheless dwelling in Spain, as setting a precedent for different artists.

“Now they don’t have to maneuver to Miami,” he says. “I don’t suppose so. They don’t have to decide on between going to Miami and being a Latin artist, and staying right here and being a Spanish artist. “

For Barbat, the explanation why artists from Spain have made such a powerful exhibiting within the Latin Grammy nominations this yr is an inventive one.

He calls music by these artists “a pure response to Latin city music…They present that there’s an choice to do issues otherwise.

“There is the Latin scene that proper now could be dominated by city tropical music,” Barbat provides. “But then there may be the world of Rosalía, Rozalén, Vetusta Morla, artists with a clearly Spanish id, or together with a European id, and with influences from the non-Latino U.S.

“That’s appreciated by individuals within the Academy, who’re individuals who have a wider imaginative and prescient of the business and the creative group.”

Those individuals embrace Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa, who Barbat says has made a number of journeys to Spain to encourage Spanish labels’ involvement within the Latin Grammys. According to Barbat, the Latin Grammy head was involved that the flamenco class had deteriorated, and will even have disappeared due to a scarcity of enthusiasm in regards to the awards in Spain.

“The first yr I went to the Latin Grammys as a result of my boss informed me you must go, Serrat is the person of the yr, and he’s from Spain. You should be there,” he recollects. “When I obtained there, I understood. I noticed it is a group and you must be there. Doing it from Spain we’re not going to achieve something. “