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Popkomm Interview: Deluxe Dance From Italy - Smilax Publishing
Our first dance lesson with high-quality music from Italy with Alberto Margheriti, General Manager of Smilax Publishing
By Anthony Kammerhofer, GATEWAYmusic
(more articles from this author)
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Anthony Kammerhofer (right) with Alberto Margheriti at Popkomm 2010

What is Smilax Publishing all about? Tell us what you do, what kind of products you offer, and why the GSA market is so important for you.

[Alberto Margheriti] Smilax Publishing is an independent record company. We have over 40,000 titles in our catalogue and we distribute our music in all parts of the world. We are on all digital stores, including iTunes. We are also distributed in some countries through Universal, Sony Music and EMI. We're always looking for new artists and talent.

So, what you're saying is you have a full-blown A&R department.

[Alberto Margheriti] Yes. We also have distribution and the market has been very good to us. We go to Popkomm every year. As we are a very new label, we're here to push our songs - it's good business.

When we're talking GSA markets, what are the challenges and opportunities?

[Alberto Margheriti] Well, we also work with Berliner Label Kontor, sometimes with ZYX Music, and also with Club Star in Germany. Now we have a deal for part of our publishing catalogue. We work with Sony Music in Switzerland, and with Universal Music for Austria. Our music is dance music, pop/dance music. We have artists like Alex Barattini and Morris Corti and were very happy with them.

On a worldwide level, what do you think of online PR? Do you do a lot of online PR? Or is it more about traditional media?

[Alberto Margheriti] Yeah, we work with all media, both digital and traditional media, but I think online media has a growing importance.

Do you think it makes more sense to do online PR for your products?

[Alberto Margheriti] Yes, why not?

What we're aiming at it more cost-effective for you?

[Alberto Margheriti] Well, with the new platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, advertising has become much easier. I also like to place advertising in newspapers. Many people still read newspapers, so its good to work with them.

So, is this still important in your domestic market in Italy? What's more important?

[Alberto Margheriti] Of course, between the two [online and traditional media] together, it's about 50/50 split at the moment.

Let's talk about North America and Asia. How's the market in those regions for Smilax?

[Alberto Margheriti] North America has been good for us. We're now working with some companies in the USA as well as Canada. It's a good market, but only for digital distribution. Asia is also good for physical now and we're now in new countries like China and India.

And in reference to Asia, are you doing consumer brand tie-ins with your artists ?

[Alberto Margheriti] Generally, we have a partner in Asia for licensing and then we have some artists, like Alex Barattini, who go there to perform.

How do you go about finding new artists? Does it "just happen" or do you have a network of talent scouts you're using? Is it DJs or club owners who help you there?

[Alberto Margheriti] Well, mostly DJs who directly get in touch with us through our website. We find 80% of the artists via Internet. The rest we come across at events like Popkomm and MIDEM.

So, it's not like you've got a network of club owners who recommend artists?

[Alberto Margheriti] Yes, of course we do.

When looking over the past decade, what do you think has become more important? Income from licensing, or income from tie-ins based on 360-degree-contracts?

[Alberto Margheriti] Well, in the case of Smilax, both are generally good because we hold the publishing rights. The publishing is the most important stream of income. Its also interesting that the digital market also now pays publishing.

What do you think Smilax will look like five years from now?

[Alberto Margheriti] I think that in five years, we will have gained more market share and will hold a catalogue of over 80,000 titles.

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