Some of the biggest names in Latin music – Marc Anthony, Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Enrique Iglesias – are headlining this year’s Billboard Latin Music Conference, making it nothing short of the biggest event in the industry.
“When it first started, it was a small event,” said Leila Cobo, executive director of Latin Content and Programming for the Billboards. “Nobody was doing much with Latin music. It has been growing and growing. We’ve really tried to make it fantastic.”
The 25th annual Billboard Latin Music Conference taking place this week in Miami touts bringing aspiring artists to meet the biggest names in the Latin music industry through panels and Q and A sessions. The four-day event will end with the annual awards ceremony on April 24.
One of such panels is just in time for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, which features the music of Latin stars from all over including Ricky Martin, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Carlos Vives. During the panel, Vives will be joined by marketing experts to talk of the massive appeal behind the global charts with this year’s World Cup songs.
“The goal for me is that I want it to be a definitive conference in the industry,” Cobo said.
Cobo, who began working with Billboard more than a decade ago, said the Latin music industry has changed dramatically over the last 25 years and even more so in just the last decade. So much so, he said, that young artists want to know how singers like Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias are staying fresh despite the changing times.
“The whole industry has shifted,” Cobo said. “Here in the States, you will have more ‘traditional’ Latin music. But there is a younger, acculturated audience that has not solidified at all.”
The conference will be rounded out with the annual Billboard Latin Music Awards on April 24. Among this year’s finalists is bachata star Romeo Santos who is leading the pack with double-digit nominations.
“We are jazzed for this year,” Cobo said.