The Rise of Independent Latin Music

If you’ve been following the TuneCore blog, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been profiling some of the labels that use TuneCore for their digital distribution. Well, we’ve got one more interview for you, this time with Gil Gastelum, founder of Cosmica Artists & Records. Cosmica Artists & Records is an independent management and record company based in Los Angeles, that works with many Latin artists. Read the interview to learn how Cosmica selects its artists, how the Latin genre has grown over the years and more…

Can you describe your label – (genre, number of artists signed, how long you’ve been operating, etc…) ?
My label is the alternative to the alternative. That’s the best way I can describe it. I don’t follow any formula and I try to follow my musical heart as much as I can.

How did you get your label up and running?
In the beginning back in 2004, it was a joint venture between myself and my first artist David Garza (from Austin) and his family. We all scraped up our nickels to put together a 4 CD/1 DVD Box Set (!)

How do you choose the artists to work with?
If I hear a song and it immediately enters my consciousness I go from there. Some situations work and some don’t pan out, but usually it starts with the music. I know it’s not a very sexy answer, but if I’m going to pound the pavement for that artist I really need to believe in what I’m going to take my lumps for.

What does TuneCore provide for you as a label?
It provides valuable access to digital destinations like iTunes and Amazon—places that before 2006 were not available  to me unless I signed with a label or did a distribution deal.

How do you use the monthly sales information in your account?
I use the sales info to pay out royalties and gauge where sales are coming from.

Are the weekly trending reports in your account of value to you?
Yes, especially right after a release. They help me figure out if what we are doing up front before a release is working, as well as determine where I need to go to (DSP’s) to try to get editorial help.

When one of your artists has a new release coming out, what do you do to promote the release, and what do you expect the artist to do?
We put out press releases, promote on FB/Twitter/Tumblr social network platforms as a label and for the artist, still do old fashioned CD mailings and sending of digital links to press, and for limited promotions to the fans before the release.

How have you seen Latin music and Latin artists grow/change over the years you’ve been working in the music industry? 
The rise of the independent sector has never been more prevalent—it’s exciting.  You see other genres such as Regional Mexican Music being more of a factor and Latin Pop—even though it’s still the biggest thing out there, it does now have to thankfully share space with other Latin genres.

What are the most important tips you would give to a DIY artist trying to achieve his/her goals (whether it be getting signed to a label or not)?
Believe in yourself, take outside advice with a grain of salt, but never stop learning. Be persistent but not a pain in the butt. Go where the love is.


More on Cosmica Artists & Records @ cosmicaartists.tumblr.com

Check out some of the artists signed to Cosmica: Torreblanca, Carla Morrison, Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, Sol Pereyra, Mariel Mariel, Madame Récamier

  • Emily G

    I just recently have began to delve into the “Latin music scene.” I think it’s great that Cosmica Records has found their own niche within this scene. I have been taking a liking to Kinky, Calle 13 and A Band of Bitches. The Pre End of the World Soundtrack is what I’ve been listening to a fair amount lately. Does anyone else like that project and/or do you have any other Latin music artist suggestions?