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Sony Music Latin ‘Strengthens’ West Coast Team With Maria Inés Sánchez

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After seven years working for regional Mexican indie labels — including DEL Records and most recently AfinArte Music — and helping grow the música mexicana genre, industry veteran Maria Inés Sánchez has been appointed Sony Music Latin’s new vp of West Coast operations.

Based out of Los Angeles, Sánchez, who began her career over two decades ago with stints at Sony and Universal, will report directly to Esteban Geller, general manager of Sony Music U.S. Latin, and oversee a team that includes other new hires such as Gonzalo Herrerias, senior director A&R and label manager Juan Tapia.

With Sánchez’s appointment, the label doubles down on its dedication to support the genre, which has seen extraordinary global growth this past year alone. “Sony Music Latin is really committed on continuing this explosion,” Sánchez tells Billboard. “The commitment being that we have to support a new generations of artists and help develop them because these young artists will only continue to fuse and evolve the sound, which has helped the genre grow.”

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With indie labels mainly driving the genre’s surge, Sánchez says the key to keep pushing the genre forward will be creating key alliances between major labels and indies. Sony Music Latin has already entered partnerships with labels such as Lumbre Music (Yahritza y Su Esencia) and Rancho Humilde (Fuerza Regida).

“We saw Mexican music grow because artists started to collaborate,” explains Sánchez. “It’s the same thing if companies start joining forces. Major labels like Sony, we can reach a broader spectrum of the business in general. We have eyes where indie’s perhaps don’t with offices internationally, which help export the music and work in other key markets such as Latin America and Spain.”

It aligns with how Sony U.S. Latin president Alex Gallardo visualizes the label’s role in regional Mexican music today. “We want to be the best possible partner for any artist, label, manager, or any Mexican music project, for this we have reinforced the West Coast team, and we have a clear vision to take Mexican music as far as possible,” says Gallardo.

Sony U.S. Latin also has an alliance with Sony Music Mexico to work both countries, Mexico and the United States, as a “single market,” Gallardo explains.

Adding that, ultimately, the plan is to break regional Mexican music beyond those two countries and enter new markets throughout Latin America and Spain. “We have already taken steps like getting Christian Nodal to sell out a WiZink Center in Madrid for 15,000 people … In countries like Colombia, Chile or Spain [the genre] is entering little by little and I believe that the strength of Sony in all these markets should be focused on bringing this wonderful music that is coming out of this new wave of artists.”

Naming Sánchez as vp of West Coast operations, a role previously served by Manny Prado (now at Interscope), means having someone who has a “very complete vision of both the business and Mexican music” having experience in both indie and major labels. Plus, having a woman in charge is something that “makes us very happy,” adds Gallardo.

“As a woman, I bring passion and conviction to a genre that I respect and love,” says Sánchez. “I’m committed to keep fueling this música mexicana explosion and impacting on a bigger level.”

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