SUPERSTAR – AND THE LIGHT AT END OF THE TUNEL

Super-Star-programa-Globo

Which band has never wished to play its music to a large audience? And which listener wouldn’t like to turn on the TV and be introduced to new artists? Rede Globo’s Superstar, can bring on a new breath of life to Brazilian popular music. It is a great opportunity for the hitherto-unknown bands to show their music in a national network, something unthinkable until a few years ago. And, for those who wish to take in new sounds, it is enough to turn on the TV and cast your vote. In the Internet and digital social network era, traditional media, such as TV ‘s and radio stations, strive to adapt not to miss the chance.

The benefits created by the Internet on musical production and promotion are visible and undeniable. The Internet has facilitated access to those interested in stepping into the music market and has provided new forms of relationship between audience and artists, mainly on account of the advent of digital social networks. However, Brazil bears a cultural peculiarity, which is its strong links whit traditional media. This occurs at the same time in which Brazilians are one of the biggest social network user groups, second only to the USA in access to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, for example.

The TV, for example, is present in almost 100% of Brazilian homes, and, according to IBGE (the Brazilian Statistics Bureau), this number exceeds that of refrigerators per household.

In addition to being an important opinion-making communications vehicle, the TV bears a very important role in the productive chain of music – as a disseminating agent. Either on soap operas soundtracks, or on TV shows, music has always been present on television, although restricted to a few artists. Moreover, it also works as a celebrity agent, providing new artists popularity.

Brazil is well known for its musical diversity and an artist, to develop a career, needs the TV for exposure and to present his/her musical repertory. If the Internet and the digital musical production technology have facilitated the insertion of bands into the market – one of the hurdles these groups face – as from now they need to attract the attention of their audience. But amid so many options, a listener becomes confused and needs some kind of guidance to come to know new artists.

For a long while this guidance had been performed by the record industry, which selected and invested in artistic careers, picking out performers, from their specific musical niches, and launching them into mainstream. And, on account of the current shrinking of the music business model, this industry has lost its strength to invest in new careers, as it had done in the past. Moreover, the room for promoting new artists in traditional media has diminished, making the Internet the main music promotion vehicle.

Exposure of new artists on Brazilian television has occurred, in the recent years, mainly on TV shows such as Fama (the Brazilian version of Operación Triunfo), Idols (American Idols), and The Voice, the proposals of which, even though not identical, bear a number of similarities: competition between singers based on their performances. However, these formats, somewhat, compel the singers to perform certain public-acclaimed songs. The performance by these candidates of authorial pieces is not allowed, or even fostered. What is at play is their vocal performance.

TV Show  “Superstar” might begin a new era in Brazilian popular music, by displaying unheard-of authorial collections to the mass public. It is extremely valuable for a band seeking to develop its career and increase its fan base to perform its music on national TV. Even using competition and popular vote in its format, the winner is not the only one who claims victory. It is enough to check the Facebook pages of a number of participants and note a considerable increase in their fan number after appearing in the program. Some of them have also had their compositions played on the radio. All this is, at least, productive, isn’t it?

It is impossible not to make an analogy between Superstar and the Brazilian Popular Music Festivals, responsible for unveiling a generation which would forever mark the history of Brazilian music- Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. These are different times and formats, yet, we can say that there is a common purpose: emphasis on new artists exhibiting their own repertory.

Superstar may contribute to Brazilian musical renovation, so much coveted by those who have been complaining about the superficiality of several mass musical works. This also demonstrates that the TV still purports an important role in exhibiting artistic to the public gaze and, thereby, develop musical careers in Brazil. And, for the listener, it also works as some kind of guidance, selecting artists from unlimited and unrestricted virtual world. Even benefitting from digital technology, these artists are found in specific niches and need media exposure to grow. The media function is of paramount importance for, each day, a new band emerges from the Internet realm.

Naturally, Superstar is prone to criticism regarding its format criteria adopted and participants. Maybe it will benefit certain bands and not others. Nevertheless, living aside the missteps of this first edition, it is worthwhile highlighting its importance, for its emphasis on the bands authorial repertoire, a milestone to current Brazilian music.

A long life to Superstar, that it may be the initial step in the renovation of Brazilian music, that it may reveal great talents and arouse the TV spectators interest in music through the TV.

Leo Morel is Professor of Culture and Media Studies at FGV/IDE-Rio, author of the book Music and Technology; he is also a professional musician.

FGV seminar discusses creative business in the music market

IMG_2580The seminar discussed how the convergence of information technology, communications and media are opening new artistic and business opportunities to musicians and musical groups in local and global markets.

On August 7, Fundação Getulio Vargas promoted, through its International Division (DINT) and FGV Management Rio, the international seminar “Creative Dialogues: Innovation in Music Business,” which discussed how the convergence of information technology, communications and media are opening new artistic and business opportunities to musicians and musical groups in local and global markets.

The event – which was attended by Professor of Music Businesses at New York University, Sam Howard-Spink – was organized by the coordinator of the MBA in Management and Cultural Production, Claudio D’Ipolitto, and Professor Leo Morel. The Director of FGV Management Rio, Silvio Badenes, and DINT’s International Relations manager, Eduardo Marques, opened the seminar highlighting the importance of international cooperation, both for the MBA courses and the exchange of professors and students among partner institutions.

Then, Sam Howard-Spink analyzed the emergence of hybrid business models, addressing three important examples of emerging markets: Brazil, India and China. He mentioned the collective funding platform through fans “Queremos!” and its international branch “We Demand!”, released in the United States.

Another interesting case presented was NH7.in, an online music platform in India dedicated to independent bands. As Howard-Spink warned, “the music industry can be regarded as a precursor of structural, technological and business changes that may affect other creative industries (audiovisual and games)”. He also noted that the model developed by Napster and its successors in the music value chain has been influencing other cultural or based on content areas ever since. “It is important to continue observing the innovations in the music business model,” said the professor.

In turn, Leo Morel argued that, when interviewing musicians to write his books “Music and Technology” and “One Piece”, it became clear that one of the biggest challenges faced by them was to stand out amid the almost unlimited universe of artists and bands on the internet. “That’s why innovation becomes increasingly essential for musicians and music producers. But this innovation is not necessarily related to information technology, it can also be sought in the musical aesthetics of the artists and their management models,” said the Professor of Culture and New Media.

Claudio D’Ipolitto, who teaches and researches Innovation in Creative Business Models, said that “today, the artist who is responsible for his/her own production can already scribble innovative ideas on a napkin using some simple modeling techniques for businesses”. He concluded the event with one advice: “I strongly recommend that, although you are not a ‘business person’ and expect someone to manage your career, it is important to understand the language and the rules of the game (…). If you are able to read the models behind the contracts, you will be more capable to discuss and decide the ways in which your talent can be translated into a sustainable revenue flow and how your image will be perceived by your target audience”.

The event, conducted in English, took place at FGV’s main offices, at Praia de Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro.

*In the photo: Claudio D’Ipolitto, Leo Morel, Sam Howard-Spink, Silvio Badenes e Eduardo Marques.

Source: http://fgvnoticias.fgv.br/en/news/fgv-seminar-discusses-creative-business-music-market

Making a living (from art)

Countless options exist for those who dabble in arts and culture and who seek, either professionally, or amateurishly, to place themselves in the market. In music, dance, theatre, movies, and plastic arts, many individuals are professionals in other areas and do not market their artistic talents. Others make art an income complement and some live exclusively from a specific cultural segment. They also diversify their skills to broaden their work opportunities.

Professionally, we can group the activities for an individual to position himself in the market. This has been discussed previously in another article of mine, focused especially on the music market. (Available here http://leomorel.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/making-a-living-from-music/ )

However, we may use the same classification tool with other segments, e.g.:

- Amateur: Plastic artist / Actor / Dancer / Musician: the person who has a profession outside the cultural area to support himself. His activity is an extra one, and he may either be remunerated or not.
– Semi professional: Plastic artist / Actor / Dancer / Musician: the person who earns remuneration from the cultural segment, but still need another economic activity to balance his/her budget.
– Professional: Plastic artist / Actor / Dancer / Musician: the person who lives exclusively from his/her cultural segment, this being his/her main source of remuneration.

It stands to reason that one can develop a career without having necessarily a single source of income. In music, for example, Brazilian composer Guinga, shared, for a long time, his musical career, with that of a dentist. Vinicius de Morais was a diplomat.

286_1145-arte-teatroIn the theatre, for example, experts defend that the professionals have better chances of placing themselves in the market by diversifying their field action: “They do not need to be only actors, they could be directors, create texts or costumes. Those who produce spectacles are also requested”, says Paula …, USJT Scenic Arts Coordinator, in an interview available in ….

The scenic arts provide a wide diversity of career options, many of which, off-stage, unlike popular belief. The Brazilian Ministry of Labor, through the Brazilian Occupation Classification, lists some of them, as follows:

- Play adapter;
– Actor;
– Director’s assistant;
– Scriptwriter;
– Scenery designer;
– Critic;
– Electrician;
– Sound engineer;
– Producer;
– Theatre instructor at basic school, high school or college.

Beside, many of those who work in the theatre do not make an exclusive living from it; it is possible to be an actor, work in a given theatrical company and still have a career in another economic segment, something quite usual.

286_1146-arte-cinemaIn the cinema, there is also many work options, at times far from the movie theaters. Many people are hired as independent professionals – freelancers– to work for a specific project, or with a production company. It is possible, e.g., to work in producing commercials, and in long and /or short feature films. Here are some career options of this segment, classified by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor:

- Director’s assistant;
– Studio assistant (cinema and video);
– Actor;
– Screenwriter;
– Ticket seller;
– Camera man;
– Movie Set designer;
– Tv and Movie production team coordinator;
– Critic;
– Director;
– Studio manager;
– Costume designer;
– Sound engineer;
– Costume administrator;
– Movie technician;
– Production technologist

In plastic arts it is possible to develop creative skills such as drafting, sculpture, painting and engraving. There are also niches like arts restoration, organizing exhibitions, art shows, gallery management, museums and cultural foundation management. Besides these examples, here follow other positions in this sector:

- Curator;
– Critic;
– Art teaching;
– Art show organizer;
– Art dealer.

In Brazil, tax incentive laws have enabled specialized professionals to perform tasks in private initiative projects geared to this sector. It is also common for people to act in other areas to complement their income. Or have arts as a hobby.

For dancing, there are also several options of activities to be performed, depending on market insertion. As seen in the other segments, the tax incentive laws have facilitated generating sponsorship, essential to enable projects. The Brazilian Labor Ministry lists a few work occupations, as follows:
– Critic;
– Dancer;
– Playwright;
– Dance rehearser;
– Instructor in schools.

286_1153-arte-musicaIn the case of music, this issue has already been specified in a previous article, available here http://leomorel.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/making-a-living-from-music/ As a comparison, we list a number of activities in this segment:
– Own-composition band;
– Tribute or cover band;
– Dance band or orchestra;
– Tour manager;
– Sound engineer;
– Art manager;
– Record distributor;
– Arranger;

As could be observed, certain segments afford more opportunities for work than others, depending, among other factors, on their economic development. Probably there must be other activities not listed, but the goal of this article was to clarify different insertion forms in the realm of arts and culture, either on amateur or on a professional basis. Each individual should then determine the specialization he would like to perform to achieve success.

There are several variables, which determine success in a specific cultural segment: training, organization capability, talent, professionalism, network and, last but not least, luck. Because of that, one needs to be aware to learn how to live in a market which is, at the same time, developing in Brazil and demanding ever more qualified professionals, and which still suffers from a high degree of informality in labor relations.

Leo Morel is Professor of Culture and Media Studies at FGV/IDE-Rio, author of the book Music and Technology; he is also a professional musician.

Making a living (from music)

viver_musica

Record labels in crisis, a slump in CDs sales and music downloads in the Internet. The music business is not the same anymore since the end of the last century. What are musicians doing to make a living in the 21-st century?

Technological evolution has brought about market changes in the productive chain of music. This has led to the decline of a business model, based on the growth of the phonographic industry, hegemonic thought out the past century. If, until recently, most popular musicians depended on such agents as investors to develop their careers, how to deal, nowadays, with a scenario in which these artists are ever more responsible for the administration and financing of their work? How can a band create conditions to fund its art and make a living nowadays?

Firstly, it is important to point out that the music business displays several niches and different forms of insertion. We can point to three different insertion stages:

- Amateur musicians – those who have a professional activity outside music. Music is an extra activity, which may or may not carry remuneration.
– Semi professional musicians – those who earn remuneration from music but need another economic activity to obtain an income to balance their budgets.
– Professional musicians – those who make their living exclusively from music.

Many are musicians who do not live exclusively from their craft. Guinga, a famous Brazilian composer, long shared his musical career with his activity as a dentist; Vinicius de Moraes was a diplomat. It is also common for a musician to use his income acquired outside the musical realm to invest in his or her musical career.

Currently there is a great variety of earning possibilities in the music field: several musicians act in different market niches to secure their sustenance. There are those very rare ones who live exclusively from a single professional activity. Most musicians seek to develop different skills to broaden their chances of work. An instrument player, for example, may have his own repertory, accompany other artists for pay, record, and teach. For a sound engineer, there is the possibility of working with sound systems in nightclubs and show houses, as well as, doing studio recordings. The combinations may vary according to each one’s abilities and aspirations. Here are some of these professional possibilities in the contemporary musical segment:

- A band with its own compositions;
– Tribute or cover band;
– Dance band or orchestra;
– Sound systems for events;
– Structure setup;
– Management;
– Booking;
– Executive production;
– Tour manager;
– Technical work (sound, lighting, stage);
– Artistic direction;
– Show houses, theaters, nightclubs, bars (live music);
– Phonographic production (recording company);
– Music publishing;
– Record distribution;
– Record, DVD, etc., sales;
– Music instrument and equipment accessories;
– Repair and manufacture;
– Composing;
– Player or interpreter (playing, singing for third parties);
– Independent singer;
– Arranger;
– Sound engineer.

As you can see, there are many work options in the music market, and being important to note that one vocation does not necessarily exclude another. A musician can develop his career by performing different functions according to his aspirations and professional motivations. Indeed, the current market configuration imposes that the musician have many qualifications. Besides being an instrument player, he or she must have skills not related to the music business, such as management and marketing.

Leo Morel is Professor of Culture and Media Studies at FGV/IDE-Rio, author of the book Music and Technology; he is also a professional musician.

Daft Plagiarism? What’s the limit to music copying?

Image   French duo Daft Punk’s talent is undeniable. This was proved at the 2014 Grammy ceremony, when their album, , was awarded prizes in several categories, among which, Best Album, Single of the Year and Live Performance, for the song Get Lucky.

Talents aside, Daft Punk also became known for plagiarizing. Or, at least for using samples (some phrase or fragment from something bigger) in their compositions written by other artists, without their permission and without giving them the due credit. One of them is One More Time, in which the duo denies having used part of the song More Spell On You, by Eddie Johns. This allegation is refuted in this video, which attempt to demonstrate how this supposed pasting was done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sdtOpE_3aQ

The abovementioned and prize-getting Get Lucky has been center of arguments on account of its similarity with the Robot Dance, by Korean guitarist Jack Kim, who had composed it two years before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ_p3sM7KvM

Kim’s composition, based on the repetition of a basic 4-chord progression, was also used by Daft Punk in their music. However, the use of the same chord progression does not constitute plagiarism. Moreover, it is worthwhile highlighting that works like those by Daft Punk explore common chord-progressive repetitions, something characteristic of several electronic music segments.

Another famous suspicion of plagiarism by the French duo, again regarding Get Lucky, lies over the song Cliché, by the North-American band Hey Champ. Even a video has even been made comparing both compositions played at the same time to help people understand the similarity between them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpkqgJDl7qw

Nevertheless, in its official Facebook page, Hey Champ published a text denying that their song had been plagiarized by Daft Punk.   One of this discussion’s main point was the fact that Get Lucky was awarded Grammy 2014’s Best Single of the Year price, something which aroused the anger of a great number of electronic music fans, who argued that this was a clear case of plagiarism.

We are currently living in an age of remix, in which anyone, with a basic knowledge of certain technologies is capable of transforming, editing and sharing audiovisual content. This has become the target of several social segments, chiefly, on copyright issues, especially in musical works of great media exposure and sales success. Penalties for copyright violations are usually enforced when plagiarism is detected.

Finally, regarding similarity between songs being ever more common nowadays, some experts warn against the possible exhaustion of combinations between music notes to create new melodies. Some artists also declare having difficulties to compose new songs today. Will we listen to increasingly similar music? In my view, I trust men’s creativity and power of innovation.

Leo Morel is Professor of Culture and Media Studies at FGV/IDE-Rio, author of the book Music and Technology; he is also a professional musician.