Music Industry

Chart-Topping Engineer Manny Marroquin Talks Working With Post Malone and More

Manny Marroquin

Manny Marroquin
Manny Marroquin (Credit: Ryan Hunter)

Born in Guatemala and raised in the US, Manny Marroquin started at the bottom and has become one of the most successful mixing engineers. He has worked with stars like Kanye West, Bruno Mars, and Post Malone, surpassing cumulative sales of 250 million records and 14 No. 1’s on the Billboard Hot 100.

Marroquin has also won eight GRAMMY awards and has been nominated for five this year. Two of the nominations are for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (Charlie Puth‘s Voicenotes and Chromeo‘s Head Over Heels). Marroquin’s work is also up for Record of the Year (Post Malone’s “rockstar“), Album of the Year (Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys), and Best Rap Album (Mac Miller‘s Swimming).

Billboard recently spoke with the chart-topping engineer.

On his approach to working with artists:

“I do not think about Grammys, obviously. I do not think about the charts. I honestly take it from a very basic approach. The artist or producer comes to me to work on their baby. That is what I always say. I am an expensive babysitter. [Laughs] … Whenever they come, I try getting into their mind, whether that means talking to them, or even the music [will] speak for itself. I try to understand what their vision is. It is never about me. [The process] is never about my sound or what I can bring to the table. It is always about how I can [create a moment,] whether it is a song that makes you cry, dance, sing-along, or whatever that true emotion is …”

On Post Malone:

“… he has a great team around him. He has Louis Bell which is his engineer/producer. Post has Frank Dukes. That is another amazing producer. He has a tremendous A&R team. … In today’s world, I don’t even know what genre he is. He is one of the only artists where you can not pin him down. I call it genreless music. You know? Nowadays, [people question,] ‘Is it hip-hop? Yes. Is it alternative? Yes. Is it kind of rock? Yes. Is it pop? Yes.’”

On Mac Miller:

“People who did not know Mac had no idea, he was a very artistic guy. Even before I worked with him, I did not realize he was that musical. His musical journey really shows. [The Swimming] album proves that. I hope that this album got nominated because of its’ quality. I remember working on it thinking, ‘Wow! This is such an amazing hip-hop album.’ The fact that it got nominated is great, but I hope people listen to what it really is.”

On opening a venue:

“I am working on a restaurant venue concert that is right next to [my studio] Larrabee Studios. Now, not only will we be able to create from beginning to end. They will be able to perform. We can capture the live performance and put it on vinyl.”

Related: Watch: Scott Storch Reflects on Career, Talks Today’s Rappers

Latin Album Popularity Has Surpassed Country Music for the First Time

Ozuna and Cardi B

Ozuna and Cardi B
Ozuna and Cardi B perform. (Source: Instagram)

Latin album consumption in the US surpassed country music in 2018, according to data company BuzzAngle Music. The genre hit 9.4 percent of total album plays in the US, up from 7.5 percent in 2017.

These numbers made Latin the fifth-most consumed album by genre, taking the spot previously held by country. Ozuna took the top two spots for most plays in 2018, for his albums Odisea and Aura respectively.

Latin song consumption also increased in 2018, going from 9.5 percent to 10.8 percent. Cardi B‘s “I Like It” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin was the number one most played track, followed by Balvin and Willy William‘s “Mi Gente.”

Related: Ozuna Drops New Single, ‘Baila Baila Baila’

The Best Independent Dance Labels of 2018, According to Billboard



Independent labels are a driving force in dance music. To recognize their contributions and success in 2018, Billboard Dance has made a list of its five best indie labels from the genre.

Check out their picks below and read the full article here.


“Each voice on the label speaks loud and strong in a variety of moods and styles, and we applaud Anjunabeats for its tireless efforts to bring quality to dance floors around the world.”

Notable artists: Above & Beyond, Mat Zo, Andrew Bayer

Armada Music

“The Netherlands-based label achieved a global presence in 2018 and was a frequent visitor on key charts, streaming playlists and radio stations, particularly in North America.”

Notable artists: Loud Luxury, Lost Frequencies, Armin van Buuren


“Formed in 2014, the indie hosts a small staff of 10 people, but puts up numbers that can compete with indie-majors due to its thorough understanding of artist development, touring, and branding.”

Notable artists: San Holo, DROELOE, Taska Black

Mad Decent

“… this independent outfit solidifies itself as one of the funniest, most innovative and well-rounded labels in the business.”

Notable artists: Diplo, TroyBoi, GTA


“The independent label has also earned 1.5 billion total streams across its catalog this year, and that’s excluding its gains on Chinese DSPs like Netease and Tencent.”

Notable artists: Conro, Slander, Noisestorm

Related: The Top Hitmakers of 2018, According to Variety

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Lose ‘Blurred Lines’ Lawsuit

Robin Thicke and Pharrell

Robin Thicke and Pharrell

A California judge has ordered Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay nearly $5 million in damages over similarities between “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye‘s “Got To Give It Up.”

In addition, Gaye’s estate will also receive 50 percent of future songwriting and publishing royalties from the 2013 hit.

The ruling ends a landmark five-year legal battle in which Gaye’s family alleged that the artists were guilty of copyright infringement. The pair filed for an appeal in 2015 after a jury ordered them to pay $7.4 million in damages, later reduced to $5.3 million.

Related: Watch N.O.R.E.’s ‘Uno Más’ Video Feat. Pharrell Williams

Mixcloud Launches ‘Fan-to-Creator’ Subscription Service



Audio streaming platform Mixcloud has launched a “fan-to-creator” subscription service called Mixcloud Select. The service lets listeners subscribe to a creator’s channel to directly support them and the music played in their shows. It also enables creators to earn revenue for the first time on the platform.

With a subscription, listeners get an enhanced listening experience that includes offline listening, viewable tracklists, and no ads. Creators can set their own price, starting at $2.99 per month. They receive a share of profits from their subscriptions, while the artists, labels, and publishers get royalty revenue.

The first wave of Mixcloud Select creators includes DJs such as Afrojack and Oliver Heldens, and labels like Big Beat and Defected.

Nikhil Shah, co-founder of Mixcloud, said in the press release:

“There’s a lot of creative energy that goes into crafting a DJ mix, radio show or podcast in order to inspire listeners, and until now, these creators have been left out of the revenue mix. We’ve been working hard to design a model alongside the industry that recognizes the value these creators bring to the music ecosystem, and today we’re excited to share this with the world.”

For more information on Mixcloud Select, click here.

Related: Mixcloud Signs Licensing Deal With Warner Music Group

The Top Hitmakers of 2018, According to Variety

Murda Beatz

Murda Beatz
Murda Beatz (Source: Instagram)

Variety magazine has shared its second annual list of the year’s top hitmakers. The list highlights the producers, songwriters, and executives behind the year’s biggest tracks.

The 2018 list includes producers and songwriters like Pharrell Williams (Camila Cabello’s “Havana” and Migos’ “Stir Fry“), Murda Beatz (Drake’s “Nice for What” and 6ix9ine’s “FEFE“), Boi-1da (Drake’s “God’s Plan“), Alex da Kid (Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder“), and Frank Dukes (Camila Cabello’s “Havana” and Post Malone’s “Better Now“).

Check out the list here.

Related: The Top Hitmakers of 2017, According to Variety

Charlie Sloth Leaves BBC for Apple Music

Drake and Charlie Sloth

Drake and Charlie Sloth
Drake and Charlie Sloth (Source: BBC)

Charlie Sloth, one of the leading hip-hop radio DJs in the UK, has announced that he’s leaving BBC Radio for Apple Music.

Sloth, who has been with the network for a decade, has hosted shows on Radio 1 and 1Xtra. His rap freestyle segment “Fire in the Booth” is globally renowned. The segment has featured appearances from Drake, Stormzy, Big Shaq, and many more.

It hasn’t been revealed what his role at Apple Music will be, but there is speculation that he will be hosting a new show on Beats 1 and contributing to the platform’s playlists.

Sloth isn’t the only BBC host to leave for Apple Music. In 2015, Zane Lowe departed the network to launch a show on Beats 1.

Sloth posted the following message on Instagram:

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After almost 10 years of dedicating my life to BBC radio 1xtra & Radio 1 and achieving everything I set out to I’ve decided the time has come to leave the BBC and seek a new challenge. I want to thank everybody who has listened to me over the years and supported me in everything I have done I love you and the journey continues. I also want to say a huge thank you to the following people for always believing in me and supporting me while at the Bbc. Dellessa James Alex lawless Carlene Morlese Rob little john Julie Shepherd Rebecca frank Joe Harland Rhys Hughes Lim La Richards Janine kempadoo Hermet Chadha Rachal Mcalroy Alex Rata Lucy Hickling And especially Ben cooper for being a great leader and for giving me all the opportunities he has to prove myself I’m forever grateful I hope all my colleagues at 1xtra and radio 1 keep up the amazing work it’s been an incredible place to work and I’m honoured to have done so. I joined the BBC as a boy and I leave as a man. Together we have created some moments that will live forever. Charlie Sloth ❤️❤️❤️❤️ ANNOUNCEMENT ON WHATS NEXT COMING SOON ❤️

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Related: DJcity UK’s Most Downloaded Tracks of Sept. 2018

SiriusXM Buys Pandora



Subscription radio giant SiriusXM has announced that it’s acquiring music streaming service Pandora in a deal valued at $3.5 billion.

The merger will help SiriusXM expand its presence beyond vehicles into the home and mobile areas. On the flip side, Pandora will be able to utilize SiriusXM’s automotive relationships to expand its service to cars.

According to SiriusXM’s press release, the deal “creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company.”

Jim Meyer, CEO of SiriusXM, said:

“The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM’s revenue streams with the U.S.’s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further. … Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.”

Roger Lynch, CEO of Pandora, said:

“We’ve made tremendous progress in our efforts to lead in digital audio. Together with SiriusXM, we’re even better positioned to take advantage of the huge opportunities we see in audio entertainment, including growing our advertising business and expanding our subscription offerings.”

Related: Meet Globalization’s Program Director, Edwin Paredes (DJ Phenom)

Artists Can Now Upload Their Music Directly to Spotify



Spotify has announced a new feature that could transform the music industry.

The feature, which is part of the Spotify for Artists platform, enables acts to upload their music directly to the streaming service without the need for a third-party distributor or record label.

Right now, uploading is only available by invitation to a few hundred US-based independent artists, but Spotify says it will “bring upload to even more artists, labels, and teams in the future.”

By enabling artists to upload directly, Spotify has moved into the space of user-uploaded audio content, which has traditionally been dominated by SoundCloud.

It is the latest move by Spotify to work directly with artists. In July, the company introduced a tool that enables artists to submit their music for playlist consideration. And earlier this year, Spotify confirmed that it’s signing direct, non-exclusive deals with independent artists.

Learn more about the upload feature here.

Related: DJcity’s Spotify Playlist Update: Sept. 18

Watch Vice and Pasquale Rotella Go on a Taco Run

Electric Taco

After a brief hiatus, DJ/producer Vice has returned with a new episode of his Electric Taco series. On this installment, the Los Angeles native meets up with EDC founder Pasquale Rotella as they drive to the Gracias Madre restaurant in West Hollywood.

The conversation covers topics such as Rotella’s upbringing in LA, his first time hearing dance music, and his inspiration for starting music festivals.

The episode features Vice’s latest single “Don’t Go” featuring Becky G and Mr Eazi.

Watch Electric Taco above.

Related: Vice Teams With Becky G and Mr Eazi for New Single, ‘Don’t Go