MCA, SURCO SIMPATICO

Growing Latin label inks publishing deal

MCA Music Publishing has inked a worldwide joint venture pact with Surco Records, the burgeoning Latin music label run by producer Gustavo Santaolalla.

The deal signals MCA’s further commitment to the growing Latin music marketplace and marks the publisher’s latest move designed to beef up its presence in the genre.

Santaolalla, a triple-threat scribe-producer-recording artist who is considered by many in the industry to be a top talent developer, has already hit pay dirt with the band Molotov, Surco’s first release.

Much favor

The band’s debut, “Donde Jugaran Las Ninas,” has found much favor among Latin audiences across Mexico, Argentina and Spain, and has topped the platinum sales plateau (250,000 copies) in Mexico since its bow earlier this year. The band has also garnered a large Stateside following and has become a darling of MTV Latino. It was recently featured on the Geffen Records soundtrack to the Fox Searchlight pic “Star Maps.”

“I felt the best place for the publishing was MCA. Not only because they are aggressive, but because it keeps it in the family,” Santaolalla told Daily Variety. In July, Santaolalla’s Surco Records inked a joint-venture pact with Universal Music Group, MCA Music Publishing’s parent (Daily Variety, Aug. 7).

Other acts to follow

Santaolalla, who also has a solo instrumental album coming out on Nonesuch Records, said he will also ink acts to his publishing deal, though they may have recording pacts elsewhere. His first signing is newcomer Julietta Venegas, a BMG artist.

In addition to Surco, MCA Music Publishing has purchased 50% of Rock and Pop music, the publishing company owned by concert promoter Daniel Grinbank. The catalog boasts nuggets from well-known Latin artists Charlie Garcia, Man Ray and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

The Santaolalla and Grinbank pacts are indicative of how far the Latin music arm of MCA Music Publishing — which bowed in late 1996 — has come in a relatively short period of time, establishing a name for itself by purchasing several key catalogs and forging numerous alliances.

The moves, led by MCA’s worldwide publishing chief David Renzer and veep/Latin arm leader Ivan Alvarez, have contributed to make MCA one of the first stops on dealmakers’ shopping lists. In the past, the publisher was often an afterthought, especially in the Latin genre.

MCA also pacted with producer K.C. Porter and his joint-venture outfit Insignia Music.

Porter, who is perhaps best known as the producer of top crossover artist Ricky Martin, will work with MCA to develop other projects as well as work on Martin’s next album.

“These (acquisitions) demonstrate that we have created a top-notch Latin arm,” Renzer said.

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