Traditionally, an entrepreneur who decides to start a new record label will look to one of the major labels for support.

But John (Jellybean) Benitez, best known for his production work with Madonna, Sting, Whitney Houston and such Latin artists as Ruben Blades and Marc Anthony, decided to take his new Latin music record label elsewhere.He went to Wall Street, and after some 18 months of negotiating and planning, he has found a backer: Wasserstein Perella, a leading international investment bank.

In addition to forming an independent record label that will release pop music by bilingual Latino artists, Benitez and Wasserstein Perella have formed JB Music Publishing to acquire the rights to music by new and old artists in all genres.

Besides the fact that few record labels have ever found a sponsor on Wall Street, this deal, which industry sources say is in the $15 million range, is unusual for another reason.

It shows just how much faith big business has in the exploding Latin music market. Sales of Latin music have nearly doubled since 1990. The pop audience for Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada continues to grow, and the new album by the Mexican singer Luis Miguel entered the pop album charts at No. 29 in August, the best debut ever for a Spanish-language album. And there's still room for sales to grow.

Though Hispanic people account for 10 percent of this country's population, Latin music makes up only 2 percent of domestic record sales.

"Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in the United States and represent a lot of purchasing power," the 37-year-old Benitez said in a recent interview. "Hispanics need to buy Hispanic, and I think I can create something similar to what Motown created for African-Americans in the '60s."

But for the label to succeed, said Townsend Ziebold, the director at Wasserstein Perella who oversaw the deal, the albums need to reach non-Hispanics as well.

"We're going after artists of Hispanic descent whose target audience is pop as well as Latin, and we're going to release each album in both English and Spanish versions," Ziebold said.