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Voy launches English-language Latin music website

December 03, 2005|From Associated Press

MIAMI — With the growing popularity of Latin music and the Internet boom, it wasn't much of a surprise that Latino media company Voy would launch an Internet site devoted to Spanish-language music.

What was a surprise was that the company would launch the site in English.

"What we wanted to do by launching Voy Music was really take advantage of two dynamics," said Voy Chairman Fernando Espuelas. "The majority of Latinos in this country are bilingual or English dominant, and there are millions of non-Latinos who love Latino music."

Miami-based Voy Music, which unveiled its site ( last week, is attempting to combine opportunities for listeners and musicians that until now have been available mostly in bits and pieces at existing music sites.

The site's streaming radio stations feature 23 Latin music styles, such as alternative rock, indie pop, reggaeton, regional Mexican and boleros. It has its own e-label for undiscovered bands and even allows groups to upload their own tunes and distribute straight to the public. The site also sells music and offers pod-casting and blogs.

"Our focus is to be as deep as possible and to provide as much experience as possible in Latin music," said Espuelas, who founded StarMedia, one of the first companies to offer Latinos a gateway to the Internet.

The company isn't ignoring Spanish speakers. Voy Music, which also has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires, plans to roll out a Spanish-language version of the site in 2006 and eventually add a Portuguese version.

Alejandro Cosentino, the former chief executive of American Express in Latin America, is heading the project, with former MTV Latino video-jockey Ruth Infarinato overseeing the content.

The one weak link in the site is its catalog of music for sale. Currently it is limited to Voy's own label and independent labels available for sale. Espuelas said he hopes to acquire catalogs from other major labels early next year.

The music site is the latest addition for Voy, which is also involved in book publishing, films and television.

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