EGREM (Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales) and New York-based Sony Music International announced yesterday an exclusive licensing deal to distribute EGREM’s state-owned inventory of Cuban recordings. The music collection is the largest catalog of Cuban music in the world and encompasses audio and audiovisual recordings produced by EGREM since the 1960s.
Sony Music Entertainment’s CEO, Doug Morris, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with EGREM to share for the first time one of the largest and most acclaimed catalogs of Cuban music with fans across the globe.” Sony Music said the deal would be exempt from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) under rules that permit cultural and artistic exchanges.
EGREM’s Managing Director, Mario Angel Escalona Serrano said, “We see these agreements as an opportunity for the joint management of our catalog over the coming years. The leadership of EGREM, together with Sony Music’s, represents the best way to give new momentum to the worldwide distribution of Cuban music.”
Edgar Berger, CEO of Sony Music International, noted, “Sony Music is honored to bring this iconic music —representing over five decades of Cuban culture — to all corners of the world. This very special project has been almost two years in the making and today becomes a reality. We are thrilled to introduce these extremely talented artists to the global audience they so richly deserve.”
The catalog includes artistic works from Bola de Nieve, Elena Burke, Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Celina Gonzalez, Cesar Portillo de la Luz and Guillermo Rubalcaba. The catalog also contains recordings by the musical groups Aragon, Irakere and Los Van Van, including their most recent album La Fantasia, A Tribute to Juan Formell.
EGREM was created in 1959 when Fidel Castro nationalized the music industry following the communist takeover. Sony Music International is a subsidiary of the Japanese electronic and entertainment behemoth.
For more information about Cuba’s music history, read the Cuba Journal’s three part history of Cuban music.