This is about music.
It’s not about a product, it’s not about competition and it’s not about ones and zeros. I'm here to talk about that strong energy that keeps us moving, about the essence of music, and the essence of music is magic and simple. As simple as clapping hands, as simple as playing air instruments, as simple as gathering up with friends playing acoustic guitar and singing old school songs.
Music is the one thing that takes us from the troubled reality to a greater place, even when we’re not paying attention. It gives us that feeling so powerful that we can even allow ourselves to be ourselves.
Music is inspiration, music is color, music is vibration, music is pure energy. Music is passion, and that’s what has brought me here, and probably you, too. So that’s what I’m here to talk about – the passion for music.
Business? Well, that’s the one thing that makes it possible (and easier) for you and me to enjoy music and to create music. And I’m here to concentrate my efforts on contributing for that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

“Beirutando na Praça”: rediscovering the essence of music

Music flowing naturally, people who share the same musical taste interacting and exchanging influences, a whole community formed by music fans who seek to hear and make high quality, creative music that connects people across the world, all for the sake of creating a positive energy and fulfilling our need for meaningful experiences. This is, I believe, the essence of music, and for those who lost faith in it, here it is, beautifully illustrated in this great initiative – Beirutando na Praça.

Amazing how passion for music can drive people with will, talent and creativity to achieve great things. The idea that started out in a small conversation took shape through an open discussion in a larger group of people who share the same values and vision to bring it to life. With a very positive attitude, this group is bringing together fans of Beirut in a community of people who value good music, finding themselves and providing these people with a new motivation and greater perspective.

Last Sunday, Aug. 30, the “Beirutando” event took place at the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, as well as in other states in Brazil – Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, and the positive energy was so contagious that not only Beirut fans were enjoying it – it also caught the attention of many others who had never heard of Beirut before, but were deeply appreciating their music and the rapport built by the group (and are probably new fans of Beirut now!) The musicians, who had been rehearsing during several months, made an extraordinary performance playing Beirut’s songs and interacting with the audience, which generated a very positive response.
I had the opportunity not only to join the community and have a taste of this exciting musical experience, but also to witness what I’ve been longing to see in the music world: musicians who encompass what I call the “essence of music”. That is:
-Positive Energy

Now while this is something quite rare to find, this event has given me better hopes and perspective to keep believing in music. The idea was very clear in my mind, but now that I’ve experienced it for real I feel more like contributing to building this huge community of people who seek to find meaning through music - that is how the group that created “Beirutando” have been spreading the message: music can connect people.

To learn more about “Beirutando na Praça” access:
Photo: Raquel Toth. More photos at
And at:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How about monetizing File-Sharing?

Now and then we’re led to reflect on the legal, ethical and financial impact of the file-sharing in the Music Industry. While there are many parties affected by these practices in many different ways (either good or bad), I do think the Music Business is the one business the can take most advantage from it and that there are effective ways to use Peer-to-Peer Services for the benefit of all of the parties. In times when technology reigns and rules the future, rather than fighting against customers and struggling to control distribution by all means, why not give up some control and use some strategy to monetize technology and interaction?
This is not meant to be one more discussion on whether File-Sharing is good or bad, ethical or unethical, beneficial or prejudicial. Neither will I try to make a point defending or attacking entities, practices or opinions on this subject. A lot has been said and discussed about it over the past several years and many interesting, reasonable articles have been written by people who certainly have a deeper and more empirical understanding of this issue than I do, so this is not my point. Rather, this is a reflection on the hidden (or at least not yet potentially explored) opportunity that File-Sharing offers in most Music Business endeavors.
First let’s face two facts:
  1. The Record Business is no longer the big fish in the Music Business.
  2. The highest value within music is in the experience, not in the products.
That said, and considering all those discussions on the pointless fight of Record Industry entities against P2P Services, it’s clear that recorded music still can generate revenue, but its potential lies on the indirect relation with sales and direct relation with marketing.
Let’s use a hypothetical example of a record label with 100 albums in its catalog, having sold 1 million records in one year of activity. If we use the 20/80 theory and assume that 20% of the albums generated 80% of this amount, we have an average of 40,000 units sold per album. But maybe these 20 albums have been shared through P2P networks and the downloaded copies have amounted in 10 million over that same year. The label owns the rights to all that music for which people haven’t paid, and the CEO starts wondering how much the label could have profited if P2P networks didn’t exist. Yet the CEO knows they do exist and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and realizes the label’s music has been exposed, for free, to ten times more people than it has through the label’s costly marketing campaigns.
To capitalize on these downloads, one thing the label could do is create an online environment that 1) centralizes the sales of all its products and concert tickets, offering different products at different prices to tailor fans’ needs and affordability, and 2) allows fans to interact. By rewarding fans with discounts for making recommendations, this system would encourage fans to spread the word-of-mouth around the label’s music, thus creating a buzz, massively increasing sales and driving more fans to concerts. Also, the label could make cross-promotional campaigns and link the label’s website to the artists’ website. If each artist would develop a direct relationship with the fans and encourage them to purchase through the label’s website, the 40,000 fans of the artist could be multiplied, who knows, ten times? A hundred times? Well, the label’s online environment is now a powerful viral marketing tool for them to achieve that exposure.
While this is just one example, it illustrates the idea of how to monetize fans’ interaction, looking to obtain the following results:
  • Growth of product sales through a broader variety that can fulfil different demands;
  • Growth of ticket sales;
  • Increased exposure;
  • Larger profit margin through lower marketing and distribution costs;
  • Increased website traffic, generating better results in search engines.
And this is just for a start. Of course, there are more complex issues to be handled (i.e. legal), but the point is: file-sharing offers real opportunities for those who are willing to innovate and break paradigms, taking controlled risks. The trick is that larger achievements require giving up certain things and leaving the comfort zone. How many are willing to do so? Well, if you are, please drop me a message and we can discuss the countless existent opportunities.

Monday, August 24, 2009

“…but what exactly?”

Okay, I am aware that I chose one of those professions that are not quite easy to explain. I have the impression that to say I work in the music business doesn't tell much, and many times neither does it to say I'm an Artist Manager. Now and then I'm taken by the question "ok, but what exactly do you do?", and though I have a couple of answers to this question, I always sort of feel that the person who’s asking won’t get the exact idea. That’s probably because there is no “exact” definition, standard roles nor any specific description for my job – at least none I’ve ever heard can succinctly describe the large range of different roles artist managers can play.
As a rule, we build our businesses upon demand and needs, through personalization, flexibility and customization. To be clear, in addition to being a partner and friend of the artist, an artist manager can also play the roles of a coach, a promoter, a booking agent, a consultant, an analyst, an assistant, a therapist, a beer pal and even a parent if necessary.
We do have standard goals though: to strive for the artist’s success, to fight for what’s in the artist’s best interests, to develop and leverage the artist’s career – all huge challenges (though very exciting – I’m talking for myself). To achieve these goals we put our efforts on taking all the barriers off the way so that processes can flow, liaising between the various parties the business involves, analyzing scenarios in order to track and create opportunities, advicing the artists about their career and business development, and that’s just for a start. Not to mention that we need to continuously develop ourselves by acquiring new skills, using our creativity and enhancing our abilities to handle marketing, strategy, technology, logistics, relationships, bureaucracy, legal issues and so on. See why it’s hard to explain? The variety of roles is endless, but so are the possibilities and opportunities, and that’s what makes the work so interesting.
But aside of the hard task of defining my role in the music business, I must confess there is one question that is much more difficult to answer: "why did you decide to work with music?"
Well, one thing I always had in mind was that I would choose my profession based on my passion. I’ve heard several people say they would never work with something they are passionate about, fearing that they would end up losing their passion when it becomes an obligation. “That might make sense”, I thought, “…or not”. Honestly I can say that the most successful, and more importantly, the happiest people I’ve ever met are deeply passionate about what they do – be it business, music, or anything else.
I cannot say exactly when I discovered my passion for music because I cannot recall a time when it was not present, but I do recall two decisive moments that brought me here. The first one was when I decided I wanted to – actually needed to – live for music and be surrounded by it. At the risk of sounding over sensitive, I have to say I’m one of those people who need to see a meaning in everything they do, and I realized by that time that music is the one thing that brings feeling into my life, as well as inspiration, motivation and, consequently, the meaning. At this point I had studied drums and guitar and had a great time playing in bands, but being very selective and demanding when it comes to music creation, I always acknowledged that my talent for that wouldn’t be as great as of those who create great music that inspires and transmits passion and feeling. But while I reached this sad conclusion, I was sure that my strong passion for music was telling me something, and I should keep reflecting on what my contributions for it were meant to be. So after long thinking, self-evaluating and pondering a number of factors, I got to the second decisive moment, which was when it became clear that I could – and should – blend my passion for music with my aspiration and drive for business and my strategic thinking. Though the music business looked like a crazy world, it felt like the right path for me, and I accepted the challenge.
Along the way I’ve met many gifted musicians who had the real talent to make great music, and as the difficulty to enter the music industry led them to give up, one by one, of their dreams to make a living out of their music, I felt I should do something to change this scenario. And so I got into Artist Management, embracing it and concentrating all efforts on making it possible for these talented, creative musicians to build successful musical careers, as well as for us, music lovers, to listen to their masterpieces.