Rio Grande Music Company

By: Teresa Palomo Acosta

Type: General Entry

Published: May 19, 2015

Updated: July 27, 2016

The Rio Grande Music Company was owned and operated in San Benito, Texas, by Paco Betancourt, a successful businessman who distributed records for RCA and Columbia. With Armando Marroquín, Betancourt founded Ideal Records of Alice, Texas, in 1946 and went on to produce the work of such Tejano music pioneers as Narcisco Martínez, Beto Villa (see TEXAS-MEXICAN CONJUNTO, ORQUESTAS TEJANAS, TEJANA SINGERS). Through the Rio Grande Music Company, Betancourt offered his customers the records made by the growing number of artists who recorded for Ideal and other Tejano music recording labels. The business also serviced jukeboxes and pinball games throughout South Texas.

The company distributed Ideal Records recordings even after the partnership between Betancourt and Marroquín ended in 1959. In addition, part of the Rio Grande Music Company building was transformed into a recording studio and record-pressing site by John Phillips, a relative of Betancourt. The Ideal Records master recordings were stored at the Rio Grande Music Company, ensuring that the company played a significant role in preserving Tejano music history. In 1990 the masters were sold to Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, which has re-issued many of the recordings, thereby bringing a new audience to the early work of Tejano musicians.

Chris Strachwitz, “The Roots of Tejano and Conjunto Music,” Arhoolie Records, 1991 (, accessed October 10, 2011.

  • Music
  • Business, Promotion, Broadcasting, and Technology
  • Genres (Conjunto, Tejano, and Border)
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Business

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Teresa Palomo Acosta, “Rio Grande Music Company,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

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May 19, 2015
July 27, 2016

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