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UMG Launches Latin Urban Music Label

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Universal Music Group (UMG) has formed Machete Music, the first full service, start-up label from a major record company dedicated to the growing Latin urban music market with a specialty in hip hop, rap, dance hall and the hottest new movement, Reggaeton.

Gus Lopez will serve as president of Machete, where he will oversee the creative direction of the label, as well as managing its A&R, promotion, sales and marketing activities on a worldwide basis. He will work closely with Universal Music Latino and will report to Universal's Jesus Lopez, chairman of Latin America & Iberian Peninsula (no relation).

In launching Machete, Lopez, who currently serves as vice president of Latin Sales & Marketing for Universal Music & Video Distribution (UMVD), will resign his present duties to focus solely on developing the new label.

Machete will operate as a street-oriented, full service label, and have its headquarters in Los Angeles. It will retain staff in Puerto Rico, Miami, New York City and Chicago.

"Universal prides itself on being at the cutting edge of what is new and relevant in Latin music," stated Jesus Lopez. "That is why we are so excited about starting Machete Records. The Latino urban genres are poised for explosive growth, not just in the United States but throughout Latin America and Europe. We want to lead the way. I'm especially happy to have Gus run this new label. He has a deep love and respect for these genres of music–and the unique skill set to maximize this opportunity. I look forward to working with him to make Machete a major force in the industry."

"Gus' many achievements since joining Universal clearly define creative leadership at its very best," said Zach Horowitz, president and chief operating officer (COO) of Universal Music Group. "His tenacity, talent and passion for music have played a key role in Universal Music Group becoming the market leader in Latin music. Among his many accomplishments, he has championed the development of a host of alternative, urban and reggaeton artists who have dominated the charts, often without any significant radio play. We are thrilled to expand the playing field for Gus even further with this exciting new venture that recognizes the explosive growth of these genres, and UMG's commitment to Latin music generally. We are confident that Gus will build Machete into a label that is second to none."

"I am thrilled to be starting the next phase of my career and doing it with Jesus, Zach and the entire UMG team," added Lopez. "Working with Jim Urie (president, UMVD) and everyone at UMVD has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. I'm now looking forward to the next set of challenges, and I am very grateful to Jesus and Zach for the privilege of starting Machete. The evolution of Latino Hip Hop culture and the blending of Latin sounds that appeal to youth have been a main focus for us. Machete will be the home for this incredible movement."

Lopez, who joined UMVD in 1995, was instrumental in building the company's leadership position in Latin music through deals with Univision, Fonovisa, Disa Records, VI and Lideres/OLE. Currently, UMVD leads the industry in Latin music with a market share of 52.91% (Soundscan). — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner