Former Universal Music Group executive Zach Horowitz has co-founded a new podcast company, Pitaya Entertainment, dedicated to producing content for Latin Americans – and he sees similarities to the potential of the Latin music market that he helped unlock during his time in the music business.
Pitaya launches with five series presented by hugely popular Latin American figures from the world of television, comedy, modeling and influencers, including Giselle Blondet, José Eduardo Derbez, Alejandra Espinoza, Ana Patrica Gámez Joanna Hausmann, Jenny Lorenzo and Jomari Goyso.
More than 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast every week (double that of five years ago) and advertising revenue from US podcasts is expected to exceed £ 1 billion for the first time in 2021.
But Latinos are way behind the American average, with recent polls showing 55% have yet to try a podcast and 38% are unfamiliar with the format.
Horowitz believes this is fertile ground for growth. And, being widely recognized as an Anglo cadre who championed Latin music before its global explosion (Horowitz founded UMG’s Latin division, to begin with), historical comparisons are not lost on him.
Horowitz told MBW: “Spotify has spent nearly $ 1 billion over the past few years buying podcast companies and said he expects podcasts to account for 20% of overall listening. on Spotify. Amazon Music recently added podcasts to its service and just spent over $ 300 million to buy Wondery, a podcast maker.
“Last year Sirius XM bought Stitcher / Midroll, two podcast companies, for over $ 300 million. iHeart bought Stuff Media, another podcast maker, for $ 55 million. Sony Music has started its own in-house podcast company.
“The opportunity is immense when you consider that one in five people in the United States is Latin American and one in four is under the age of 25. This represents a potential audience of 60 million people, with a purchasing power of 1.5 trillion dollars. “
After serving as COO of Universal Music Group in 1994 – and later adding the chairman to his title – Horowitz oversaw substantial investments in Latin music within the company during the best part of the next two decades. From 2012 to 2014, he led Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) globally.
Horowitz told MBW: “Despite all this spectacular growth and activity [in Latin music], the Latin podcast audience in the United States is underserved and underdeveloped, and Latino voices are woefully under-represented in podcasts. Pitaya Entertainment aims to change that.
“We’re 100% dedicated to developing and producing podcasts for, by, and about Latinos, and then implementing exciting new ways to break into the community with their programs. The opportunity is immense when you consider that one in five people in the United States is Latino and one in four is under the age of 25. It’s a potential audience of $ 60 million, with purchasing power of $ 1.5 trillion.
“When I became chief operating officer [of MCA/Universal] in 1994 we had no presence in latin music. I’ve made gender a personal and corporate priority – and we’ve gone from zero to being the market leader in America.
Horowitz added, “It was this same kind of potential opportunity that I saw as President and COO of Universal Music Group when I decided the company should go into the music business. Latin music in the United States.
“Latin music made up a small percentage of overall recorded music sales in the United States at the time. Yet I believed that the dramatic demographic changes that were taking place, along with the rapid growth and influence of the Latin American population, made it critically important.
“When I became COO in 1994, we had no presence in Latin music. I’ve made gender a personal and corporate priority – and we’ve gone from zero to being the market leader in America.
“There were skeptics along the way, both inside and outside the company, who thought all the investments I had made in Latin music were misguided. But these investments have proven to be incredibly successful.
“Latin music is so popular today that it’s not uncommon to find Spanish-language albums representing 20% to 25% of Billboard’s top albums in the United States.
“On the other hand, you’d be hard pressed to find a Spanish podcast in the top 100 Apple Podcast charts in the United States. This is the challenge – and the opportunity – for our new company.
The other four main executives of Pitaya Entertainment are Guillermo Santiso, the former director of Fonovisa Records, the podcast pioneer Andy Bowers, Diana Mejia-Jones, one of the best Latino experts in marketing, advertising and branded entertainment, and the award-winning producer Jordi Oliveres.Music trade around the world