Latin Music Publishing Pioneer peermusic celebrates 90th anniversary
With continued investment in the Latin Songwriting Community
peermusic was founded 90 years ago by revolutionary A&R man, Ralph S. Peer, who is credited with being one of the first music executives to bring the popularity of Latin music to the United States. Today, peermusic is the largest independent music publisher in the world, with a global footprint of 32 offices in 29 countries and over a quarter of a million copyrights. The peermusic brand is synonymous with Latin culture, with a roster that boasts some of the most iconic and prolific songwriters in the history of Latin music, including Prince Royce, Chayanne, Gloria Trevi, Juanes, Víctor Manuelle, Micky Huidobro (Molotov), ChocQuibTown, and El Komander, Fito Páez (Argentina) Gustavo Cerati (Soda Stereo), Charly García (Sui Generis), Spinetta, Ale Sergi (Miranda!), Txus Hernández (Mägo de Oz), Paulo de Carvalho, Agir, and Mafalda Arnauth . Now celebrating its 90th anniversary, the company continues its investment in the Latin music songwriting community and continues to break down genre and territory borders for its songwriters and artists.
Gloria Trevi wrote this about the company earlier this year when Ralph S. Peer was honored with this year’s prestigious Grammy Trustee’s Award: “An extraordinary song needs an extraordinary team, and that is exactly what Ralph S. Peer created. With peermusic, he built a fortress for songwriters, where our songs would be nurtured, felt, understood, and protected. ‘Bésame Mucho’ and ‘Granada,’ two signature Latin classics published by peermusic that would garner audiences worldwide, are just two clear examples of how Peer expanded and nurtured the international footprint of Latin music…He always knew that music broke all barriers. In today’s world, it is beautiful to know that what music unites, cannot be taken apart. Thank you, Ralph.”
Today, peermusic considers itself 90 years young and is determined to continue its legacy of championing Latin music songwriters. At the helm of its domestic success are Latin Music A&R powerhouses, Julio Bagué and Yvonne Drazan (Vice Presidents of US Latin, peermusic) This dedicated duo of respected music publishing executives knows a hit when they hear it and have signed, developed, and promoted high profile, global Latin superstars.
“Being an independent firm enables us to offer our songwriters unique and personalized service with the warmth of a family-owned and operated company but with the infrastructure of a multi-national organization,” said Julio Bagué, who joined peermusic as an executive 17 years ago when the company opened their Miami studio/office.
“It is a privilege for us that we maximize to the fullest which in turn translates into each musical success that transcends borders, language and cultures,” added Yvonne Drazan, who has been with the company 14 years as an executive based in its Los Angeles office.
peermusic has spent 90 years transcending borders. Founder Ralph S. Peer was a successful recording executive, archetypal A&R man and music publisher whose career spanned from 1919 to 1960. Through his work as a music executive, he continually broadened the palate of genres that music makers and audiences embraced. In addition to being one of the first to expand the global footprint of Latin music, he was also the executive producer of the first blues record that sparked the genre, the first jazz piano solo, and the first-released country record. He was the executive producer of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the “Big Bang” of country music, where he discovered Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter family. In 2013, the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame established the Premio Editores Ralph S. Peer Publishers Award in his honor to recognize the important contributions he made to the Latin music songwriting community.
Ralph S. Peer’s passion for Latin music came about after his first trip to Mexico in the 40’s where he felt a connection between country music and Latin American compositions. “Southern Music Publishing” (peermusic’s name at the time) quickly signed Mexican and Caribbean songwriters that were revolutionary in influencing the music of the era and would withstand the test of time. Songs such as “Mambo #5” by Pérez Prado, “El Cumbanchero” by Rafael Hernández, “Perfidia” by Alberto Dominguez, “Bésame Mucho” by Consuelo Velázquez, recordings by Nat King Cole “En Español”, along with placements in Walt Disney and MGM pictures gave worldwide recognition to Latin songwriters.
During the “Golden Era of Salsa”, peermusic helped its songwriters get their songs recorded by genre greats included Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, El Gran Combo & the Fania All-Stars. In the Regional Mexican genre, peermusic songs placed included “Contrabando Y Traición” recorded by the unmistakable Tigres del Norte and several recordings by the famed Vicente Fernández.
In the 1990’s during the renaissance of the bolero as recorded by young artists, peermusic’s song catalog landed in multiple recordings by Luis Miguel with Romance (1991), Segundo Romance (1994) and Romances (1997) — a trilogy that went on to sell more than 15 million copies worldwide and reached multi-platinum status. There was also a renewed interest in traditional Cuban music repertoire that paved its way into the Buena Vista Social Club series reaching worldwide success.
Today, the global music publishing company runs under the the direction of Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Peer II and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mary Megan Peer. Two peermusic Presidents, Kathy Spanberger (United States) and Rafa Aguilar (Latin America, Spain and Portugal) oversee peermusic’s unmatched infrastructure in the Latin market, with more offices in this area than any other music publisher.
In its 90th year, peermusic remains committed to working directly with Latin music artists, songwriters and producers to help them launch and sustain successful careers. The company continues to enrich the possibilities of a changing market and place the highest importance on the thoughts and sentiments of Latin culture as represented through song.