By Lynn Ponder: Celebrating its 24th year, the Billboard Latin Music Conference takes place at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami from April 22 through the 25 culminating with Latin Billboards Awards show televised by Telemundo starting with the red carpet at 7pm and webcitygirls will be covering this entire event WEPA!
Did you know that the BLMC is the most important Latin music industry event in the world? I decided to find out why and asked Leila Cobo, Executive Director for Latin Content and Programming at Billboard some interesting questions that she answered “con el corazon en la mano”.
Lynn: What is the criteria to select different artists to participate in the BLMC? For example, this year the Billboard SuperStar Q&A is with Gloria Estefan, why was she selected?
Leila Cobo: We offer the Q&A to big big super stars, I mean artists that have international recognition who have not only been number one on our charts but also routinely sell shows, artists who are big names that attendees will want to see and learn from. Although, we appreciate all the wonderful artists who are not mega stars, but honestly, we are looking for mega international super stars.
Lynn: What is the unique value proposition for the guests attending Billboard Latin Music three day conference and what do you think they will learn?
Leila Cobo: If you are serious about the latin music business in particular and you want anything to do with this business, rather than emailing me everyday, because I get emails from everybody, everyday, asking what do you think I should do with this? What do you think I should do with that? What they should do is go to the conference!!!
“No tienes una idea la cantidad de gente que me escribe y pretende que con un email les voy hacer su plan de vida”. This goes from aspiring artists to establish American companies who want to get into the latin market. If you are really serious about the latin music market, I think it behoves you to be here, because it is the only conference where you really have all sectors of the industry under one roof. We try to have the most important people and every year it changes because I cannot have the same people every year. But at any given year you are going to find high-level representatives of labels, management, new services, media all under one roof, plus you will also find the artist which is the source of inspiration. In reality during the Q&A you are not learning how to handle your social media but you are getting to hear from who is very successful and hear from their own mouth how they did it. Every panel that we do, we really try to have a take-away.
The fact is that during those three days, I think you do come out with a lot of know how and with a lot of knowledge. This year we have panels I want to go see, like the “Viva for VEVO” panel to hear Doug McVehil, SVP, Music Programming, Talent & Content Operations, VEVO. Another interesting panel “The Essential Partnership: Artists & Their Instruments” about how to get an instrument deal, how do you get an instrument maker like Fender to sponsor you and give you instruments. Questions about why is it important what instrument to have will be answered and if you are an artist at any level it should interest you, because you will have Fender available at this conference and Sergio Vallín, Guitarist, Mana.
Lynn: What should we expect at the dynamite Latin Leading Ladies panel with Olga Tañon, America Sierra, Kany García y Carla Morrison?
Leila Cobo: I did this panel for several reasons, one because people keep asking me why are there not a lot of women on the charts and really there are so few. So this has been an annoying area of concern, however I think next year the charts are going to reflect it, but in the last 6 months I have seen like a bunch of new female names come up. We wanted a panel that had an established name and 2 rising names so they could talk about what kind of music do Latina women like specifically because in the mainstream you find a lot of big female artists and you don’t as much in the Latin world. To find out what type of music works, what kind of messages and attitude works when you are a woman. Really, I want this panel to be a conversation between the four of them. I do not want it to be a directed panel, we have four women with four distinctive personalities and I hope that they kind of have a lively discussion of what it means to be a Latina women in the latin music industry and how to get on those charts
Lynn: We know Don Omar is a mega powerhouse which is probably why he is back the second year in a row, so the question is: what are some of his new developments you think he will share at the BLMC?
Leila Cobo: Don Omar is in the “Viva for VEVO” panel and it is funny because we also have a Zumba Panel and he could of purposely been on that panel too. As you know he has a song called Zumba which is number one in the Hot Latin Songs chart. Here you have a guy who really knows how to use all the new technology and media at his disposal and that is what I think is interesting. Last year he came and talked about social media, etc and this year what is amazing to me is that he stayed at the top of the charts, releasing single after single. He and his team know how to promote these singles very well, they know how to really move the social media needle. “Lo que aporta” is how do you sustain yourself for 3 years in a row. You know he has not sold that many copies of his albums. or for that matter has not sold millions but what he has been selling is the tracks. It is a very different way of looking at the business, I think.
Check out the complete schedule here and see you at Billboard Latin Music Conference!!!