It’s no secret that Latin Music’s value is soaring.
In April, MBW predicted that the recorded music market for Latin artists in the United States will generate over a billion dollars in revenue across the 12 months of this year.
Last month, new mid-year data published by the RIAA showed that on a retail basis, Latin Music is still on course to hit that $1 billion revenue threshold in the United States this year, after growing 23% in the first half of 2022, to reach $510 million.
Now, alongside Latin Music’s growing popularity and rising value, a new music investment group called Wahoo Music has launched in the US – and it says that buying Latin Music rights will be a priority.
The firm’s first deal, via Wahoo Music Fund One, is a 50% stake in the publishing and recording catalogs of Oro Solido, described by the company as “one of the most popular merengue groups of the last two decades”. The deal was for an undisclosed sum.
Wahoo Music is headed up by two music industry veterans, including President Jamar Chess and CEO Paul Tarnopol.
Tarnopol is CEO of Menudo International, while Chess, is the President and co-founder of Latin Music specialist Sunflower Entertainment Group, and grandson of the legendary Leonard Chess, who started Chess Records.
Tarnopol told MBW that “Jamar’s expertise in music publishing and my background in digital distribution and licensing gives us the ability to evaluate, purchase and administer both songs and master recordings”.
“This is a key reason why this partnership makes sense,” he added
Chess, whose Sunflower Entertainment Group partnered with Spirit Music Group to launch Spirit Music Latino back in 2016, told MBW that “Latin is a priority” for his new Wahoo Music venture.
“I am bullish on the genre and region, but we are open to looking at ‘non-Latin’ deals,” he added. “I know the Latin space well, and there is a ton of opportunity, especially in Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.”
According to Tarnopol, Wahoo Music Fund One “was formed specifically” for the Oro Solido deal and was funded by both Wahoo Music and an undisclosed third party.
“Individual funds will be formed for each catalog acquisition and most of the funds will be for assets under $10 million,” he added.
“The long-term plan is to build a substantial music catalog that steadily grows in profitability for our company, partners, and artists.”
“I know the Latin space well, and there is a ton of opportunity, especially in Colombia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.”
Wahoo says that it acquired the stake in the Oro Solido catalogs from the group’s founding member Raul Acosta. According to a press release announcing the deal, “Acosta acquired the rights in 2016 from Platano Records, the label that originally released the recordings”.
With a catalog encompassing 10 studio albums, four live albums, and three ‘Best Of’ compilations, Wahoo Music says that Oro Solido has been “one of the merengue’s most successful artists to emerge in the contemporary era”.
Also included in this acquisition are the group’s future ‘Greatest Hits,’ live and/or acoustic albums plus Sound Exchange and neighboring rights royalties for every album in the catalog.
Wahoo says that the deal signals its “superb relationship” with Acosta “and perpetuates and advances merengue’s important status as the national dance of the Dominican Republic”.
“I had an existing relationship with Raul Acosta p/k/a Oro Solido so I know the catalog and earnings intimately,” Jamar Chess told MBW. “Raul’s catalog of Merengue compositions are viewed as classics in the genre and across the Dominican Republic and LATAM. It’s the perfect first transaction to launch the company with Paul.”
“While most music investment groups target large catalogs, our focus is on smaller high-quality catalogs that are often overlooked by typical music investment groups.”
Commenting on what differentiates Wahoo Music in the M&A space, Paul Tarnopol explained that, “we’re confident in the future of the music industry and in our ability to manage IP efficiently”.
He added: “While most music investment groups target large catalogs, our focus is on smaller high-quality catalogs that are often overlooked by typical music investment groups.”
“I’ve had a great working relationship with Jamar Chess for many years distributing Oro Solido and my label FestivaMusic/24k Records and I am excited to partner with Wahoo Music to maximize our catalog and concerts.”
Raul Acosta, Oro Solido
Said Raul Acosta (Oro Solido), in a press release announcing the deal: “I’ve had a great working relationship with Jamar Chess for many years distributing Oro Solido and my label FestivaMusic/24k Records and I am excited to partner with Wahoo Music to maximize our catalog and concerts.
“I also want to thank our agent manager Elis Pacheco and attorneys Michael Selverne and www.Festiva2go.com in-house counsel Marc Stollman who helped make this deal possible”.Music Business Worldwide