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Believing that Latin music is the next frontier, Island Records has bowed a Latin division and has placed industry vet Alex Masucci at its helm.

The new arm, which will be based in Miami, is the brainchild of Island Records chairman Chris Blackwell, who has long held an interest in the Miami music scene and believes the Latin music genre has the potential for enormous growth.

It is also an outgrowth of Island’s successful joint venture inked last year with sister label Polygram Latino.

The two labels teamed to market discs from crooner Soraya, with Island touting an English version of the album, while Polygram promoted the Spanish version.

“I have long been interested in finding the performer who can be the leader, the contemporary star of Hispanic-based music,” said Blackwell. “Forming a dedicated division to handle Latin music is the first step in reaching that goal.”

Island also distributes Hola Recordings, the Jellybean Benitez-run label.

Masucci will be charged with signing and developing artists, as well as establishing a team to run the division.

“Latin music is more exciting than ever and I’m looking forward to building Island into a major player in every facet,” said Masucci.

Prior to Island, Masucci was an exec with Fania Records, a preeminent Latin music label based in New York. He also worked at Boardwalk Records and briefly ran Island’s special projects arm.