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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis

Mikrofona ieraksti co-founder: concert business does not always bring profit

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Elita Milgrave

Elita Milgrave

It is misleading to believe concert business brings profit «a priori». It depends on the performance, says Elita Mīlgrāve, Latvian record company Mikrofona ieraksti co-founder, journalist and producer.

What are you most proud of?

Since the company exists, it is 15 years already, we have paid out local, foreign singers and authors over 4.5 million lats in royalties, issued more than 500 Latvian music albums and 17 DVDs. Moreover, we have also launched digital distribution site Doremi.lv. Of all the albums, 23 have qualified for gold and platinum discs. Similarly, many records and albums have been awarded the highest price in Latvia in the Latvian Annual Music Awards.

We have collaborated with Latvian authors and singers, including Raimonds Pauls, Prāta vētra, Līvi, Laima Vaikule, Credo, Menuets, Labvēlīgais tips, Tumsa, 100.debija, Roberts Gobziņš, Valdis Atāls, Rebel, Arnis Mednis, Liene Šomase, Cosmos, Aisha, Andris Ērglis, Jenny May, Kristīna Zaharova, LieneCandy, Roberts Lejasmeijers, Nikolajs Puzikovs, Evija Sloka, etc. Mikrofona ieraksti uses brands MicRec and Raibā taureņa ieraksti. Similarly, since its establishment, the record company is one of the leading record company’s in the world EMI Records partner in the Baltics. EMI Records represents artists as Depeche Mode, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Robbie Williams.

How is it going with collecting money from radio stations for copyright?

Latvian Association of Performers and Producers LAIPA collects money from radio stations and the dialogue is absolutely normal. I am a Board Member, but it is a part of their daily work. Contracts have been concluded with all radio stations. There are some challenges, of course, as well. Tariffs have been changed slightly. Furthermore, there are also some businessmen good at avoiding laws in a clever manner, but still, the understanding is better. We have done a lot to prove it is not enough to pay authors via AKKA/LAA (Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/ Latvian Authors’ Association). What LAIPA collects is divided between performers and producers 50:50.

Will Latvia Eurovision representatives Musiqq finally bring Mikrofona ieraksti to the European music market?

We do not need them to bring the company anywhere. The most important thing is that they are recognized internationally. This has always been our aim. We turned 15 on April 17, 2011, we celebrated the day together with our artists and partners. Despite we still have not Latvian Madonna or Lady Gaga, we might as well have them one day. We keep working and believing in that one day we will. This is why we are here.

What is the optimal ticket price for Latvian artists?

I believe those five or seven lats local performers often want already approach the critical mark, when it might be difficult to sell all the tickets. It depends on both objective production costs and listeners expectancies. However, we have never offered cheap performance for high price. We realize that when setting up a concert of the songs from the 80ies, we first have to advertise the event, so that people remember the years and how beautiful they were.

Latvian music group Prāta Vētra (Brain Storm) ranked the 3rd in Eurovision with My Star. Afterwards, they entered Swedish and German markets, but then they slowed down, as if not willing to go further. Why?

They qualified for both gold and platin discs in Poland with the album Among the suns. There were also issues of the management and some more mistakes. UK Singles Top 40 is the priority. If they recognize the artists, many do. We lacked both experience and trust form the part of Brain Storm in what we were doing. And then the audience switched to other performers. Next time it is much more difficult and expensive to break into such huge events. However, I would not like to comment on their reasons.

Is it still possible to qualify for a gold disc with 8 000 CDs sold and platinum – with 15 000? Or is it easier now?

It is 5 000 copies for a gold and 9 000 for a platinum, this has not been changed since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. If it were less, it would already be quite ridiculous. Because this is not only for the pleasure of ourselves, it is for foreign producers to see how many copies one can actually sell here. It is much more in Germany, 50 000 and 100 000, because their market is significantly larger.

How much does it cost to record a studio album?

It depends. If it is piecework with no stress, one can record an album for 4 000 to 5 000 lats. If it is abroad and with a professional producer, the sum is much bigger. The equipment and the location does not matter that much. What counts is the professionalism of the producer who sees what the artist is capable of. The prime cost of a CD disc is 30 to 40 santims, while what makes the real value is the work invested, promotion, styling advice, vocal studies, etc.

How would you comment upon the claim music industry is always living at the expense of other sectors?

This is a tough question, because it is very difficult to make good albums without sponsors. People often mix what is a sponsor and what is an advertiser. Latvian businessmen rarely do mecenatism. Practically, sponsoring albums take the form of advertising with companies also promoting their own brands. To compare, sponsors in Great Britain do not even put their brands on the cover, with the informative booklet including only a small «thank you». So, I believe, music industry in Latvia is, to a large extent, living at the expense of other profitable sectors.

Is it necessary to create such a commercial network with LAIPA’s issued CD and DVDs surcharged only a minimum?

What we sell is of limited edition, so it is exclusive, thus I do not think it is possible. Similalry, also stores would die without considerable surcharges.

When will music industry make profit from downloads from Doremi.lv?

Digital music sales have stabilized, totalling 10-15% of the whole edition. The rest 85-90% take the form of a CD. Then what’s the benefit? It is that we can sell records before the whole album is launched. Such sales should be as simple as making a phone call. My future vision is that a consumer gets music as if for free, but actually he or she has already paid for it when buying a recorder or Internet connection. Those fighting for the attention of consumers will offer music as an additional service.


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