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Reggaeton Sights, Sounds Rock U.S.

11 Apr, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

It's no secret Latin music is big in America. All the major labels have Latin music divisions, and they are increasingly looking to highlight the sassy, sultry, exotic and lively artists on their rosters with music DVD releases.

In 2004, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, music DVD shipments in the Latin genre increased 278% in units and 246% in dollar sales over 2003.

Figures for 2005 aren't out yet, but the segment shows no signs of losing momentum.

It's a genre-within-a-genre that expands far beyond such crossover artists as Shakira and Marc Anthony.

One of the hottest trends in Latin music DVD now is reggaet?n. It's a fusion of sounds inspired by urban lifestyles, blending reggae, hip-hop and rap, and Latin beats into a unique get-up-and-dance sound.

Raymond Ayala, aka “Daddy Yankee,” is a superstar of the reggaet?n movement. His 2004 album Barrio Fino has sold more than 1.6 million copies in the United States, and last year he released the concert DVD Ahora le Toca al Cangri Live from Machete Music.

Daddy Yankee is a guest of honor at this year's Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards held in South Beach, Fla., from April 24 to 27. The rising star will participate in a Q&A session April 26 to talk about reggaet?n and his personal success.

In an interview with The Miami Times, the Puerto Rican-born star talked about the appeal his style of music has even for English-speaking audiences.

“People just love the beat,” he said. “It's fun and exciting. Even if the person doesn't understand the lyrics, they understand the fusion.”

Don Omar, another reggaet?n star who hails from Puerto Rico, has music DVD offerings as well — The Last Don: Live from V.I. Music, and The Don Omar All-Star Video Collection released last year from Machete Music.

Making a compilation featuring videos and live performances from a variety of artists on one disc is a widely used option for Latin music DVD releases.

Don Omar contributed a track to the Latin music/reggaet?n CD/DVD compilation Chosen Few: El Documental, originally released by Urban Box Office in 2004 and released by Virgin Records last year.

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