Julion Alvarez’s Music Is Back on Spotify After U.S. Authorities Cleared Him in Link to Mexican Drug Kingpin

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Regional Mexican artist Julión Álvarez announced on Monday (June 20) that his music is officially back on Spotify, five years after authorities banned him from profiting off his music in the United States.

During an Instagram Live, Álvarez gave his fans an update on his music — old and upcoming — and his situation with U.S. authorities. “After I was taken off the list by authorities in May, everything has been a process that not only are we involved in but also the label (Universal Music Group/Fonovisa). We still have a deal with them so, legally, they had to upload my music.”

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In 2017, Álvarez — frontman of Julión Álvarez Y Su Norteño Banda — was linked to Mexican drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez and the Flores Drug Trafficking Organization by the U.S. Department of Treasury, resulting in, according to authorities, “all assets of the individuals and entities designated that are under U.S. jurisdiction or are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”

Álvarez has since categorically denied all ties, and on May 27, he was taken off The Office of the Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals list.

In his social media post, the Chiapas-born artist also explained that there were multiple accounts who tried to upload his music on digital streaming platforms “illegally,” but that those would eventually be taken down. Spotify was the first DSP where fans could again stream Álvarez’s albums, including his 2017 set Ni Diablo Ni Santo, which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.

“We’re slowly working with other platforms to get my music onto the rest of them,” the singer said. “Things continue to be favorable. It’s another victory and in a way, I’m getting tools back to continue to work. God willing, in a few days, we’ll be able to release new music.”

During a press conference held in Mexico when it was announced he was taken off the list, Álavrez explained why he was associated with the drug trafficking organization in the first place.”In 2013, I associated myself with a construction company that builds homes, but I had no idea that these people [I went into business with] were being followed by the government, which is why they associated me with them,” said Álvarez, who presented the letter that released him from all charges. “During this process I learned many things. Personally, I am now more patient and calm. There’s a before and after since this situation. Now, I have the strength and knowledge to lead my finances. I’ve been through many investigations and discrimination but I can now go out with my head held up high and say we are victorious.”

Since his designation by authorities — which was at the height of his career as one of the top-selling acts in the regional Mexican genre — Álvarez had not toured in the U.S. While there is no information on when he’ll begin to tour again, the singer did say that his deal with Universal will end after he delivers the last album he owes.

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