Kobalt's Latin operation has scored its biggest coup to date with the signing of Colombian star Carlos Vives to a global deal with both Kobalt Music Publishing and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, Billboard has learned.
The deal, effective immediately, includes Vives' past hits, which are plentiful, as well as future songs, which show no signs of abating. Vives' latest hit "La Bicicleta," with Shakira, is at No. 2 on this week's Hot Latin Songs chart. It is also nominated for a Latin Grammy for Song and Record of the year.
The Kobalt deal, with its neighbouring rights services, is practical for an international artist like Vives whose music tops many international charts. Vives has had five No. 1s on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, dating back to 2000's perfectly wonderful "Fruta Fresca" and up until 2012's "Volví a Nacer," which marked Vives' return to recording after a nearly decade-long hiatus.
"I've always admired Carlos Vives' extraordinary creative talent," said Nestor Casonú, managing director for Latin America at Kobalt. "I value the authenticity he brings to the music of his country and the other native cultures, daringly incorporating contemporary instruments to his songs."
When Casonú ran EMI's Latin publishing operation, he signed Vives and worked closely with him on his 2001 album, Dejame Entrar, which reached No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart (Vives also topped the chart with his two most recent albums, his 2013 comeback, Corazón Profundo, and 2015's Mas + Corazon Profundo:Tour).
Vives' credits the friendship as one of the reasons he decided to go with Kobalt when his contract with Sony/ATV ended.
"One of course comes to a company for the advantages and possibilities they offer to us as artists, but fundamentally one joins a company for the people, for the admiration they awaken in us and for the passion and mysticism with which they do their job," he said in a statement. "It was with Nestor Casonu, a long time industry friend, that I found the motivation, the joy and the enthusiasm to continuously write new, quality songs. We are very happy to form part of the Kobalt family and we are fully committed with them."
Vives is a "giant in the industry and we could not be more thrilled to be his partner," added Kobalt Founder and CEO, Willard Ahdritz. "I thoroughly enjoyed his show at New York City's Madison Square Garden and was truly blown away by the authenticity he exudes in front of a crowd. I was equally impressed by him after meeting him in person."
Vives was most recently signed to Sony/ATV as a songwriter. He is signed to Sony Music Latin as a recording artist.