Monday, January 12, 2009

Hispanic music label celebrates 25 years

Label Fonovisa marks 25 years of Latin releases
By Leila Cobo Jan 10, 2009

MIAMI (Billboard) - It was 15 years ago when Adolfo and Gustavo Angel -- the sibling duo known as Los Temerarios -- signed to independent label Fonovisa.

There were other options for the group, which sold well on its own label, but Los Temerarios -- who sing romantic grupero fare -- went with Fonovisa, the maverick label that at the time belonged to Televisa.

"It's a company that has a profound knowledge of the market where we were born and where we grew," Adolfo Angel says. "If we look at its history, it has housed the most successful regional Mexican acts. And after so many years, they're still the most important in the genre."

This year, Fonovisa turns 25 and will celebrate the anniversary with an ambitious, yearlong schedule of releases commemorating the company's history as a bastion of Latin music. Fonovisa's storied roster includes the leading names in regional Mexican music, among them Marco Antonio Solis, Los Tigres del Norte, Banda El Recodo and Huracanes del Norte.

With the slogan "Fonovisa 25th Aniversario: La Historia de Los Exitos," Fonovisa plans to reintroduce entire catalogs of artists' work into the marketplace. In addition, the label will dedicate each month of the year, beginning in February, to a single act, starting with Los Temerarios.

It will also release a series of multi-artist compilations throughout the year; first up is "La Historia de los Exitos," featuring one hit for each of Fonovisa's 25 years. The album goes on sale January 20 and will be followed by other concept releases, including "Las 25 Mas Romanticas Con Los Supergrupos," slated for February 10, and "La Historia de Los Exitos-Banda" on March 24. A yet-to-be-named Mother's Day compilation is in the works.

"We want to talk about Fonovisa as the single most influential independent record company in the U.S. that grew and developed stars," Fonovisa/Disa president Gustavo Lopez says. "We're going to mine its 25 years."

Now part of Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Fonovisa's share of the Latin marketplace in 2008 was 16.3 percent, second only to Sony BMG. Since its acquisition by Universal, Fonovisa's roster is exclusively regional Mexican, but historically, it also has been home to leading pop artists like Enrique Iglesias (who was introduced by Fonovisa in Spanish), Christian Castro and Thalia.

Its 25th-anniversary releases will reflect that diversity, Lopez says. The label is counting on the excitement generated by the rerelease of original titles to generate sales. In a depressed market, Lopez says, "what will drive the sales is the pricing of the catalog. And the presentation of the product will be critical. It is moving away from doing 10 compilations (by the same act) and driving people to buy those original, classic albums."


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