Amazon Music’s Rocío Guerrero on Latin Music’s Explosive Growth

Rocío Guerrero, global head of Latin music at Amazon Music, has collected many professional accolades over her career. If there’s a power list of women in the industry, she’s on it. Latin leaders? She’s there, too. And among international executives, the well-traveled native of Spain ranks high as well.

But to hear Guerrero’s story is to connect with a personal journey, one which took her from a musical family in a small Spanish town — she’s herself a classically trained musician — to Brazil, London, Stockholm and now New York, which she’s called home for ten years.

Talk about being early on music streaming, Guerrero joined Spotify in 2011 before the service had even launched in the U.S. She started there as a sales planner and rose up the ranks to the position of head of global music cultures, shows and editorial. That was when Guerrero went truly global as her purview included Latin music, of course, but also Indian, Arabic and African songs as well.

Dialed in on the music consumption habits of the diaspora, Guerrero then took her institutional knowledge of the Swedish tech platform and learned the music business from the other side, joining Warner Music Group in 2018 as VP of A&R and cross-cultural strategy.

Just before the pandemic, Amazon came calling and Guerrero signed on to lead the Latin Music team. For the last three years, she’s been busy building exclusive original content opportunities — be it video, podcasts, livestreaming or playlisting — and has taken on such ambitious projects as the mini-documentary “La Cuna del Dembow,” tracing the evolution of the dembow subgenre in two episodes and featuring Latin music’s biggest current crossover star, Bad Bunny.

Thanks in large part to top album- and ticket-seller Bad Bunny, Latin music has seen explosive growth in recent years, and in 2022 exceeded $1 billion in U.S. revenues for the first time, up nearly 25% from 2021.

Amazon Music has been on a similar path as it relates to Latin music — which is not in itself a genre, but rather a diverse musical throughline for Spanish-speaking artists worldwide — with monthly streams doubling year over year worldwide.

On this episode of the Strictly Business podcast, which follows Variety’s April 13 Miami Entertainment Town event recognizing Latin executive talent, Guerrero talks about her mission (to super-serve music’s underserved globally), accomplishments (which include a Maluma concert livestream from Medellin), insight (how Latin Music’s expansion mirrors food trends) and what she learned during Spotify’s startup years (namely Swedish, as encouraged by the platform’s cofounder Daniel Ek).

Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts.

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