To Take Advantage of an Opportunity, You Must First Recognize It
by Ivan Berry,

Speech presented at the CRNM Workshop on the Impact of Trade and Technology on Caribbean Creative Industries
MusicDish Network Sponsor

Welcome everyone, my name is Ivan Berry and I'm the "Head Of A&R" and the "Head Of International" for Sony/BMG Canada. I'm West Indian via the small, but large in spirit, Islands of St.Kitts & Nevis. On a daily basis, I work closely with our domestic roster within most genres and try to sign and record the best artists and records possible. The genres included pop, rock, R&B, hop hop and adult contemporary music. Sony/BMG is one of the 4 multi-global companies that handle the careers of such artists like Usher, Santana, Whitney Houston, Wyclef Jean, Britney Spears, N'Sync, R.Kelly, Alicia Keys, all Idol brands, Elvis Presley, just to name a few.

Today I would like to speak, on a broad basis, about where I think the "Business of Music" is going, from both a creative and economic point of view, but also from a global and digital convergence impact. In today's world, OWNERSHIP OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is an absolute must. We see major record companies downsizing, integrating and consolidating. Most folks in the independent sector, or in smaller populated territories like the Caribbean, are scared and unsure as to their future and the future of music.

I must tell you, no matter what happens to the majors, there is and will always be a need for amazing musical compositions from such creative, diverse songwriters and artists like ourselves here in the Caribbean. We need to perfect the marketing and promotion of our art form on radio, television, retail in both regular and digital formats, Cell phones, movies, live performances, music kiosques, video games, airplanes, medical therapy, hundreds of other areas which also include LEGITIMATE digital downloading. In Canada for instance, 60% of the population has bought a music CD or other formats, however, some 70% of Canadians have reportedly obtained music through a purchase, any purchase. This means that 10% of this overall number are legitimate downloaders. This is obviously encouraging and shows signs of consumers regaining "The Value Of Music" and the art form.

Major labels are aggressively developing and understanding our new era and we must continue to be there to offer the consumer music and content of amazing quality, with ultimate convenience and at a great price, no matter the format in which it's delivered to us. Worldwide sales of recorded music are now up by 1.7% in unit sales and down by 1.3% in value. This surely means that we're selling more CDs, but have also listened to the consumer's cry and have dropped the price to a value that doesn't devalue the equity worth of the folks that are actually creating the masterpieces.

We should all study, and really study, where we were and how we got here through the STORAGE, DIFFUSION AND INTERACTIVITY of music. Digital convergence that delivers voice, video and data is actually upon us. Time and distance has shrunk because of broadband lines within our homes and business, at a cheep, monthly price. I now have a 3-megabyte modem in my home for $39.00 per month. This means that I can download an entire album of songs, at full AIFF/wave quality, in 5.5 minutes. Successful businesses and individuals that adapt and embrace new technology will reap the profits and companies and individuals that refuse to embrace new technology will be marginalized.

We have already seen the impact of reality television on our households. The interactivity of the Idol Brand (Canadian Idol, American Idol and other Idols in over 20 Countries worldwide), where you get a chance to vote and be part of the winner's career. Seeing and been part of their development, grooming, growth, successes and pitfalls, are simply exciting to the households and has become true family entertainment. Because of this contribution, we've seen huge rise in sales of Adult Contemporary music with the likes of Rod Stewart, Nora Jones, Sarah MacGlauglin and numerous others.

Radio (both Internet and regular), Content-based web sites, legitimate file sharing, legitimate downloads, all allow new and back catalogue music to be accessible and enjoyed by all ages of the consumer. These formats are perfecting themselves and are providing the highest of quality and more importantly, Targeted Content to our listeners. Wireless distribution of music is upon us and hardware like mobile phones and others are becoming a form of diffusing music and video to impatient consumers.

In Japan, they're not only downloading music to Cell phones, which are charged monthly to their phone bills. More importantly, they're sending music video programming like MTV, BET, Channel V and the like, directly to Cell phones. Hundreds of thousands of folks are sitting on the buses watching their favorite video, in real time, then legitimately downloading their favorite song. This may be a contributing factor as to why Japan is second to the USA in MUSIC CD sales, with a 6 month sale figure of 2.5 Billion dollars, this is only a 6 month figure, and only for the purchase of CDs only.

We have found that our consumer is more educated, more sophisticated and more demanding, so Quality Of Content, Convenience, Price and providing this Content On Demand is the keys to integrate into and be more successful within, our digital arena. As West Indians, we must be Technologically savvy and media saturated, this is not a burden, but rather, it offers exciting, new opportunities if we embrace the evolving times. This will simply allow us the utmost interactivity between the music industry and it's consumers, and the continued personalization of content. Better compression in all formats, the storage of more content, and within less space, and more cheaply as well, and with minimal loss of fidelity, allows us hours and hours of enjoyable music from talented global artists.

The iPod has just released their new colour, 80 Megabyte unit. In the next few months, these units will have an antenna like a Cell phone where you can legitimately download music directly to the unit. Once this happens, you'll have thousands of your favorite songs in the home, at the office, in the car, while jogging, while working out, all on one, small unit, with NO moving parts for the song to skip.

Although the Major Record Companies, have frankly, bastardized the business, the Core of our industry has not changed for hundreds of years; the core is still ART and ARTISTRY. Be fast and flexible, but be precise and have quality control at the forefront of your business plan. The shrinking majors definitely leave room for the independent scene to once again be a lucrative industry. We have seen the European markets use the CD single as an amazing marketing tool to market and brand artists that go on to sell albums. This is a cheap model to get your music heard and to be seen on national charts.

Take advantage of this opportunity, for this simply leaves room for smart, aggressive, niche players that could and should take advantage of these shifting paradigms. We have to continue to research and gain ultimate knowledge about the business of music. We have such talented musicians, vocalists, producers, and songwriters, now we must concentrate on the business at hand. Become the best Content Creators and Content Branders in the universe. You must firmly command your own destiny, and must believe that we as West Indians are some of the most creative folks in the Universe. It is time for the money to stay in the West Indies for the sale and exploitation of our music and our vibrant artists.

We should study the global market statistics and learn from them. According to "The International federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)", Global retail sales of recorded music (audio and video) grew by 1.7% in units and fell by 1.3% in value in the first half of 2004 compared to the same period in 2003. Music on audio formats fell by 2.7% in value, while the music video sector grew by 20.2%, driven by DVD music video, which climbed 26.6%. For the first 6 months of 2004, Interim sales of all audio and music video formats totaled $US 13.9 billion dollars. Interim sales typically represent around 40% of total annual market value. This is the best interim result achieved by the industry since 2000 although regional and individual territory results vary markedly. The US appears to be experiencing a recovery, while other markets have seen a substantial reduction in the rate of long-term decline. Some markets are seeing ongoing problems like Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and more recent reversals have hit others.

The top 10 markets globally for CD & DVD sales are:
1. USA with 5 billion dollars of sales
2. Japan with 2.5 billion dollars
3. UK with 1.3 billion dollars
4. Germany with 900 million dollars
5. France with 850 million dollars
6. Italy with 300 million dollars
7. Australia with 290 million dollars
8. Spain with 260 million dollars
9. Canada with 260 million dollars
10. Netherlands with 225 million dollars

These are staggering numbers because we would still have to include numbers from live concerts, publishing, merchandising, digital downloads, film and television rights, and numerous other areas, in order to see the full picture and potential of the global music business revenues. There is no doubt that there's literally hundreds of Billions of dollars being made. WHERE IS OUR PIECE OF THE PIE?

A few more statistical facts from a survey done in Canada. We sampled 1200 people across Canada and came up with these findings:
* 25% now owned MP3 Players
* 27% male and 23% female now own some sort of digital, portable device
* 46% use "Text Messaging"
* 51% female and 43% male now own Cellular phones
* 18% download Ringtones to their Cellular phones
* 25% will probably purchase "Master Tones" (the new, high quality ring tone that uses actual, original recorded music)
* 50% are aware of the price drop of CD prices
* 35% have used a CD burner
* 32% have burned 3-5 CD's while another 15% burned 20 or more CD's
* 38% have created CD's consisting of downloads from file sharing sites such as Kazar, compared to 46% in 2003. So, in Canada, we've seen a definite and healthy decline of illegitimate File Sharing.
* 46% said they want to be able to buy the songs they like without buying the entire album. This tells us that we need to put the value back into music by better development of artists, and by recording better albums. The album once again should have 6-8 hit singles, with other songs completing the story, before it compels the consumer to purchase it.
* A staggering 45% said they would prefer to support the artists by going to their live concerts and merchandising purchases. This simply means that regular retail outlets are out and the sale of recorded music at concerts are back in. Let's take advantage of this statistic. Don't ever let an excited fan walk away from a concert without a token of their experience.
* 68% have seen the Anti-Piracy advertising. This is exciting as we know the campaign is getting out there, and is working.

10 DVD Music Video Markets
So, as West Indians trying to impact the global music scene, we must:

1. Face Reality realize the creative and economic changes in the music industry, and adapt to the current business climate

2. Become Leaders show ultimate leadership in everything we do and everyone we deal with

3. Have Passion This job is 24 hours a day and 7 days weekly, so have ultimate passion for the music, artists, the business and the entire art form

4. Create Team Work work closely together with your direct and indirect team. It takes hundreds of people believing and working together to be successful, you're never alone.

5. Lastly, be "Creative", be "Innovative" be "Efficient" and be "Effective". These are the things that seem difficult, but are not if you strategize, have a plan and implement that plan with ultimate Discipline.

A great man once said: "Go out on a limb, for this is where the fruit is"

Ivan Berry is currently the "Head of A&R" and the "Head Of International" for Sony/BMG Canada. His duties include the signing, recording, development, international exploitation and marketing of BMG Canada's domestic roster on an international level. Artists such as Wyclef, Shawn Desman, Sloan, Rascalz, Treble Charger, Gino Vannelli, Keshia Chante, In Essence, Ryan Malcol (Canadian Idol), Audrey DeMontigny (Canadian Idol), Kalan Porter (Canadian Idol), all other Canadian Idol artists and many more are all part of his responsibilities.

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission




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