In the early 90’s while DJing his friend’s house party Angel Soto met his future wife Carol. The fact that they met while Angel was DJing was a foreshadow for what was to come. This marked the beginning of a great partnership, both in business and in life..
In the mid 90’s Angel decided that he was going to open a record store. He really didn’t know how to go about it, nor did he have the funds. He just knew that somehow he would. With Carol’s support and after many years of saving, studying and planning Benton Records was opened on Sept. 12, 2001. Benton Records soon became a hub for the local hip hop community. It was a place where artist could sell their music, DJ’s could go buy records and producers could showcase their beats. During this time Angel and Carol were able to mentor many up and coming artist and often provided advice on the business side of the industry. In 2004, in response to demand by the community Angel and Carol established the Tampa Music Conference, an annual networking event for those in the music community. The TMC quickly became one of central Florida’s favorite music networking event. With about 300 attendees the first year and close to 700 just three years later.
In 2008 Benton Records was closed for good. The record store was unable to survive the digital era, however The Tampa Music Conference continued until 2010. Because of personal reasons Angel and Carol decided that they were going to take a break from the music industry and stopped the conference and everything else music related. They stayed away until 2014 when they caved in to request and agreed to bring back the TMC. It was during this time when they also decided to establish a record label and a publishing company. Today the conference is a non profit with the purpose of educating and advancing independent music artist. Benton Records as a label now has over ten signed artist. Benton Publishing has four producers and a songwriting team that goes by “The Writers Block”. It is within the Publishing brand that Benton Entertainment provides administrative services to independent artist and labels. The company is growing faster than expected, as evidence by the newest two additions: Benton Radio and FIlm Services. In spite of everything they have on their plate Angel and Carol still stop and take the time to help and mentor up and coming artist, songwriters and producers. They stand firm by their company’s motto which is: “This table is big enough for everybody, pull up a chair. Let’s eat”