Telemundo and Warner Music Latina Launch Joint Venture

8:30 PM PST 02/28/2013 by Leila Cobo, Billboard

The first artist signed to the deal is Gabriel Coronel, the star of hit soap opera "Relaciones Peligrosas."

Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo has partnered with Warner Music Latina in a joint venture to sign, market and promote Latin music artists. Warner will be in charge of all musical aspects, including A&R, production, single promotion and touring assistance, while Telemundo will offer promotion at multiple levels through its various platforms, including broadcast and online. All revenue, including that from touring and sponsorships, will be shared.

“This is a true 360 platform,” says Rudy Weissenberg, senior vp production for Telemundo Studios. “All the revenue and income generated by the venture is shared by the companies. Warner will do what they do best: The music […] And what we offer is all the platforms of Telemundo media and the great marketing power behind the different screens.”

Telemundo’s power and reach are huge. Not only is it the second-largest Spanish-language network in the country, but through Telemundo Studios, it’s a major producer of original content that is distributed in more than 100 countries nationwide.

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The first artist signed to the deal is Gabriel Coronel, the star of hit soap opera Relaciones Peligrosas, which aired last year on Telemundo. Coronel, who hails from Venezuela, was pursuing a musical career in his native country when he was cast as the lead of the soap, his first major role.

Once Warner and Telemundo decided to work together, Telemundo proposed Coronel as an act to develop under the new deal. When Warner executives heard him perform, they were sold.

“He’s 24 years old, super talented. Our commitment is very strong,” says Gabriela Martinez, GM of Warner Music Latina and senior vp marketing at Warner Music Latin America. Warner is working with Coronel in repertoire selection in hopes of releasing an album in July or August, in tandem with his new soap opera. It is likely that one of Coronel’s singles will be the soap’s theme song.

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Telemundo already tread the waters of music artist development with Jencarlos Canela, the actor and musician who had major success when his first album, Buscame, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart in 2009. Canela, at the time signed as an actor to Telemundo and as a recording artist to indie Bullseye Music, continued his success with 2011’s Un Día Nuevo. He recently signed with UMLE and will release his first album with that label this year. Canela’s deal with Telemundo, however, did not extend to his music.

Now, the network will look at its roster of exclusive stars -- it has more than 33 signed actors -- as well as new and established acts in all genres.

“When we sign artists to our exclusive deals, a lot of times we ask to be given a first look at all platforms,” says Weissenberg, who says there used to be discussions about whether to enter into music, given that it wasn’t the company’s expertise. “Now, we can say this is your home, and we can allow you to grow any way you want.”

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