Is there music Business in Ecuador?

Ecuador is a 13-millon inhabitants country in South America. Its neighbouring countries are Colombia and Peru. Ecuador has four different climatic regions with a lot of different cultures. Why is this important? It is one of the reasons why there are many different kinds of music. In the last 20 years, there has been a huge increase of  musicians because there are different music schools and there is an increasing amount of places to show their talent.

Now, this rapid increase has caused some more questions to answer. Are these new musicians interested to make money out of their talent? Do they want to live from the music? Of course they do, and here we start with problems because there are so many cultural factors that people have to change. For example, there are artists that they don’t get paid. Also, there are organisations that make festivals which never take place and then artists do not get paid. How do we have Colombia so near but comparing to the music industry so far?

Mr. Architect it would be a pleasure to own a house that you designs but is it ok if I pay you the first half in 3 months? and the other half with some product like an exchange?

Sounds funny or not? This sort of deals seem unrealistic but this is happening to the musicians in every single show that they make. The music is also a product, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a show, record a disc. etc. We the musicians have to change this, we are the only ones that can teach people that we are also working and deserve to get paid in a just way. I know it is difficult but if all the artists make this, say no when we don’t get paid for our product or sign a contract, or be offered to get paid at least the 50% after a concert, and say no to that, then things are going to start changing. I thing artists can also work altogether and make their own shows or festivals to win money an also teach the inexperienced bands to think in this way. It all starts in one point and this could be one of them.

My recommendation: always sign a contract the moment that you shake hands with the organiser and write all the  clauses like how to get paid and when, all what you need to perform, transportation, etc. In Ecuador, the music Industry it is still in diapers but there are people that are trying to be smarter with musicians because they think they have the power, they own a place or organise a big event. They are nothing if we don’t perform, be smart and sign a contract with them and make this happen!!


THINKBAND 9: Bye bye Warner Music…

Last week Metallica ended their 28+ year relationship with Warner Music in order to launch their brand new label: Blackened Recordings. This move will allow the band a 100% control over their master recordings, including music and videoclips.


Even when the label was considered enough with the band’s terms (in 1994 they re-negotiated their contract to please the band’s requirements) it seems that Metallica’s assets are bigger than any offer Warner could give. Behind this strategy is music business mastermind Cliff Burnstein, the responsible to bring the band from the underground stage to the mainstream stardom. Earlier this year Burnstein stated that despite their successful tours the band had more liabilities than ever and needed to expand their business in new and disruptive ways. The time has come and the band started to stay away from the traditional path.


Metallica’s first release under their own label will be Quebec Magnetic, a 3D concert movie that will be premiered this monday December 10th. Blackened Recordings will take care of all marketing and promotional activities while the distribution duties will be under Rhino Entertainment and with a licensing deal with Universal Music Group.

Time for Metallica to start being the real masters of puppets.


THINKBAND 8: Meet Charlie Parra, the guitar (and social media) wizard.

There’s a lot of unsigned guitar enthusiasts out there with millions of Youtube views, but just a few get the following in say, less than 3 years:

  • Endorsement of one of the most important guitar makers: Kramer Guitars (yes, the guitar brand that Eddie Van Halen used in his early recordings).
  • Endorsement of Laney Amplifiers.
  • Endorsement of EMG pickups (Metallica’s choice)
  • Sign to a major label and start a world tour with one of Canada’s most promising bands: Kobra and the Lotus (discovered by Gene Simmons).
  • Get sold out gigs in USA, Canada and Europe.

This is the story of Charlie Parra, a peruvian guitar player that did all of the above on his own, without a manager but with clear goals.

His strategy was based in engaging his music through social media on a regular basis. Also, his competitive advantage was the skill to play a cover song of almost every style (from Lady Gaga to classical to Peruvian cumbia) but transforming it into metal shredding. Then his solo album was released and was available in almost every music streaming service, iTunes and promo videos for every song with huge success.

Creation, performance, distribution and marketing strategies. All done by a guy that picked up the guitar for the first time because his school psychologist told him that it would help his “lack of concentration issues”.

THINKBAND 6: Jagermeister delivers!

They are delivering CONSISTENCY, a simple word but hard to reach in the times when if something doesn’t work for a brand it’ll move into the next “big” thing.
Since their debut in 2002 the Jagermeister music tour has delivered the most extreme rock bands out there, from Slayer to Slipknot to Unearth. So, are metal bands selling that well nowadays to keep sponsoring them? The answer is YES. But not because these bands are selling billions of records, but for something they share and that give value to the brand’s equity.
















“With sales increasing up to 40% per year since 1985, Jägermeister is the most popular drink nobody likes.” Sally Hogsheads concluded on her “How to Fascinate” case study about Jagermeister, she also concluded that this phenomenon was due to 7 fascination triggers of attraction:

MYSTIQUE – Why we’re intrigued by unanswered questions
LUST – Why we’re seduced by the anticipation of pleasure
ALARM – Why we take action at the threat of negative consequences
POWER – Why we focus on people and things that control us
VICE – Why we’re tempted by novelty and “forbidden fruit”
PRESTIGE – Why we fixate on rank and respect
TRUST – Why we’re loyal to reliable options

If you think about it, these triggers are definitely shared with most of the extreme metal bands that take part of the Jagermeister Music Tour. Think of “Angel of death” by Slayer, it’s not just about the combination of visceral lyrics and loud riffs, it has a mystique on it’s own. The same with Korn’s lust and Slipknot’s power. This is not an extreme metal blog -I need one!- but you get the idea. In the end of the day the brand gets the most loyal FANS (not consumers!!) worldwide, just like heavy metal.

Near the end of her case study, the author concludes “Jägermeister has no competition. This brand is irrationally, irresistibly irreplaceable. A category of one.”

Looks like a virgin territory, headbanging entrepreneurs ready?
Jagermusic website:
Lastly, you can find the Sally Hogshead article here:

Thinkband 5: A story to sell.

In ancient times when a plebeian tried to approach the king to ask for something he had to make an offering. This offerings could be slaves, state of the art weapons, land, or just gold. Despite that the plebeian had the opportunity to talk with the king, nothing was taken for granted, it was just a right to talk to the majesty.












Although it’d be interesting to have some lands for my own negotiation purposes, I’d prefer to talk about a similar story that might interest you as possible band managers: two weeks ago a couple of colleagues and me went to a venue we targeted to show the managers/owners a new startup band that we are promoting called Puerto Argento. We felt more than confident since this band has three conservatory members with undoubtedly quality in terms of musicianship, performance and charisma. I had a well prepared speech to talk about how good they are, the possible negotiation to set up the show, the benefits for the venue and even some small talk to break the ice. What could go wrong?

After waiting for 20 minutes we finally approached to this guy and start talking about business, I spent a few minutes introducing myself and my colleagues, describing the band and talking about how this band could be beneficial for both sides. Although he was paying attention and making eye contact, some problems appeared just when I was starting to describe the band’s musical style. His cellphone rings 3 times in a row, he answers them all, one of the waiters rush to give him a document and two people interrupt my speech with effusive smiles and handshakes. At the end of the conversation he had no idea how the band looked and sounded like, therefore no negotiation could be done.










One week later we had our first EPK ready for Puerto Argento so we grabbed an iPad and approached to a similar venue and showed it to the owner. In just seconds he turned off the cellphone ring, called their 2 waitress and said “hey guys, check this out”, then 30 seconds later he whispers to himself “look at the singer, she has a beautiful voice”. He shown immediate interest in booking the band gave me his business card for the follow up coordinations. Now we are closing the deal with really good benefits for this promising band in the long term.












Here’s the EPK we used as today’s plebeians:

Music Industry today…and tomorrow. Part 1. The view of a growing band´s manager.

In what will be a series of interviews, I will try and get the views of different key players within the industry (mainly in Spain) on where the industry stands now, where it is headed, and how recession has affected their operations.

Today: Part 1. The view of a growing band´s manager. The Dirt Tracks.

The Dirt Tracks

David Giménez and Lorena Von Koschitzky are managers of the The Dirt Tracks, a growing band from Valencia, Spain that is quickly getting both national and international recognition.

Inspired by the ambition of the British indie scene, Coma, Masid, Karl, Miquel, and Rafa, present themselves as The Dirt Tracks. They recorded their first single “Never Been to Mars” in June 2011, edited by David himself and mastered at the iconic studios of Abbey Road by Alex Wharton; a single that was presented as part of an UK tour and that lead to very positive reviews due to the elaborate of their work and exciting live performances.

During the first semester of 2012, the band combined its Spanish shows with a tour in Germany, playing 8 gigs around the country and obtaining again a great response from fans and press. On May 15, 2012 they release their second EP The Madding Crowd and have the chance to later present this new album at the Arenal Sound Festival, sharing lineup with such established bands as Two Door Cinema Club, Kaiser Chiefs and Digitalism among others; and with a second UK tour, where it was evident that fans were already begging for a return.

Their bright future now lays on the recording of their first full LP that will be presented in summer of 2013 in the UK and several international music festivals, with the possibility of disembarking on the other side of the ocean in a not so distant future.

And now to the interview…

The Music Industry is becoming a digital world, where the presence of physical elements is on a continuing downfall, and where music is now available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. How has this affected your band management? What are you doing to embrace this digital era?

David and Lorena: Embracing is a way of putting it… in reality we were already born in this new era and what we try to do is to take advantage of its opportunities, the disadvantages are already known enough. That´s why we have different work streams, from a band promotion standpoint:

  •  Social Media: nowadays it is key. The closer we get to our fans, the more chances we will have to create a loyal fan base. Our first year we relied heavily on Facebook, as it works pretty well in Europe, but looking into the future, we really want to push Twitter. Obviously not forgetting about FB and trying to expand its presence to other countries.
  • Live Shows: they are really what is going to support us as a band. We already have over 50 gigs on our shoulders in a little over a year: 4 tours (3 internationally) and 1 major festival. Our live show is very powerful and, additionally, we try to engage the public with different innovations in order to create a more interactive environment to turn the show into an experience more that just a concert per se.
  • Blogs: they are gaining more and more importance and we are trying to work them out. They involve extra effort, because there are many that come and go, while others manage to consolidate themselves, which leads to a need of having to constantly check the web, but it´s worth it. We have had very good blog reviews and that helps us build reputation and grow.
  • Press: if you work hard, but you don´t tell, no one is going to know. Therefore, additionally to the blogs, general-interest periodicals are constantly updated of our endeavors. It´s another push to build reputation
  • Digital Platforms: obviously we need to be in all of them – iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Nokia, Amazon, etc.

How has the decrease in record sales affected your revenue generating capacity? How are you making up for it?

D&L: Live shows is our main form of revenue, that´s why we don´t stop touring.

And what do you think of this new digital tendency?

D&L: For us it is really an opportunity, because not being tied to a major label gives us the chance to make room for ourselves in an easier way. We have very useful tools in order to be able to reach a lot of people, something that years ago only the “big bands” had.  Distribution channels are the same for them as for us, which means we are in the same “stores” as them. Having an audience is something that requires a lot of work and professionalism. What we have to do now is innovate and try to take advantage of these new opportunities that are in front of us.

As an emerging band, you then see this new tendency more as an opportunity than as a threat. What market opportunities would you identify?

D&L: It is an opportunity for sure. We have been able to reach places and countries that we didn´t think possible. They are listening to us in the U.S. and on the other side of the planet simultaneously, one “click” at a time, something that would have not been possible for us before. This way, we can plan possible tours in a more efficient way, as we can identify the market from the comfort of our homes. As we said before, the money is now in live performances, and with the tools we now have in the market, even though an evident oligopoly still exists, the line that existed between major label bands and us independent bands is getting thinner and thinner. Platforms like Spotify pay (not much, but they pay nonetheless) the artist directly and we believe that with time, solutions will arise so that no musical talent goes wasted.

Where do you see the industry then in future years?

D&L: He who would have the answer would have sure success (laughs). We hope to still be there, be bigger and have the capacity of filling larger venues (soccer fields?); that our music is still being heard and appreciated; and being able to live of this with ease. What is certain is that whomever doesn´t know how to adapt quickly will die.

And on top of everything, we are in the midst of a terrible recession. Have you noticed as a band? What have you done to adapt?

D&L: It is possible that we have experienced a reduction in the attendance to shows. It is something we have noticed and that is being commented in the whole industry in general, so it is something that we already expect. However, it is something widespread, and to us it has had a moderate effect and our objective is still to grow nonetheless. We can´t stop and wait and see if things get better. If Spain starts not being a viable option, we will have to look abroad; it´s the advantage of considering ourselves an “international band”. Experience however has allowed us to also reduce costs notably, we are managing to obtain better deals with venues, and we keep making efforts to get people into them.

Well, thank you both for your time, it was great to be able to get your take on the industry. I wish you all the luck.

D&L: Thank you.

Interview originally posted at Naked Playground

Thinkband 4: The best ideas come from the most basic questions.

There are quite a few apps and websites that I can’t live without right now, all of them share something in common: they were born from very basic questions that we all ask ourselves everyday. It’s hard to believe that some of these ideas were created just about a couple of years ago (months in some cases). Since you are probably a musician or a music fan I’ll show you a couple of great apps/websites that came from these basic needs.

Question: ¿Where can I find a drummer that shares my music taste, live in a nearby area and is available RIGHT NOW?
Idea- Fandalism: gives you the ideal band member in just seconds, you can do the search with lots of relevant filters to match style, area, age, amongst others.

Q: ¿Where can I find REAL backing tracks? (if you are a musician you know what I mean, we all hate midi-based backing tracks)
I: Jammit: gives you the possibility of having the actual songs of your preference by channels, in an exclusive mixing software platform. If you are a musician you’ll love it:


Q: ¿When is my favourite artist going to play here, in my city? (without having to surf for each artist’s tour)
I- Bandsintown: gives you the chance to track your favourite artists in a one-only step for the first time, then it uses the built in GPS to determine your exact position, giving you the dates, prices and, since it’s integrated with Facebook, you can see which of your friends are also attending the desired gig.

Finally, I’d like to share a few questions that I have right now:

Q: Which bands will open for Fear Factory’s concert here in Valencia? (I did my research and couldn’t find anything about this, as usual for startup bands)
I: A community for bands that are just starting out and are opening for big artists that you are tracking on Bandsintown, so a partnership with them can be convenient for promoting this soon-to-be-wellknown bands.

Q: Am I the only one going to Barcelona to see Steve Vai in December?
I: A Facebook app that detects the friends of your friends that are planning to take a short/long trip to see their favourite artists, so your direct friends can introduce them and have a safe new musical friendship that can last just for the concert or for life.

Q: Where can I find a place to play with my band right now?
I: Yes, Tickstage again, but I still have the same question: thinkband-open-think-tank-for-the-music-industry

What kind of questions do YOU have right now? You may become a successful music entrepreneur soon.

Female Producer of the Week


Lisa Chamblee Hampton- CEO, Black Fox Entertainment, executive producer, Making Music Herstory 

Why she’s awesome:

Worked with several Grammy nominated artists- Prince on his 3121 album and also with Justin Timberlake on his Future Sex/Love Sounds album. Founded her own production and engineering firm, Black Fox Entertainment, in 2004. She has also done recordings for artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Eric Benet, and Ledisi.

What she is doing to put female producers in the spotlight:

She founded a project to feature all female artists, producers, writers, and engineers called “Making Music Herstory” and also moderated a panel at NAMM 2011 (one of the world’s largest music product trade shows) called Women Behind the Console: Inside the Process.

Why this project is important:

This project features and makes known female producers who could potentially be role models for women who want to pursue the profession. The fact that it was discussed at NAMM along with the panel gave the project great publicity. The project, if marketed in the right way, could reach and inspire many.

Thinkband 3: Opening for a supergroup (even if your band is just starting out)

Not even an album in the market and an almost unknown Peruvian metal band The Fallen Symmetry is already playing in the same stage with THE multimillion selling metal band from Sweden: Arch Enemy. So how could that happen? I had the chance to interview the vocalist of TFS, the band I managed just a couple of months ago.

Jaime: Hi Gustavo, what’s the secret to play alongside Arch Enemy without even having released any album in the market?

Gustavo: It`s all about hard work and seeking opportunity. You have to be ready when the chance comes knocking at your door. We did not had our album out yet when it happened, but we played some good gigs, we had a pretty professional sounding demo out and we even had a Video of one of the songs of our demo. So, looking back, even if we did not had a official LP out, we did had material and had worked pretty hard for the last year as a band. Now, besides that, I guess there´s a matter of luck too, we were in the right place at the right time. But I guess that´s how things work, as I said before, you have to be ready when the train of opportunity passes by.

J: Your fan is a very special one: you don’t have a big amount of clicks in your Facebook fanpage or Twitter account, but I know your live shows always get packed, what do you think about this?

G: We as a band, exist for just over a year, so we are in the process of building our fan base. The thing about the metal genre is that fans are pretty loyal, they will go out and check out new bands, even if they don´t know you, of course, after that you have to make your thing so they become fans of your band, so they leave the show and go to their houses and look for your fanpage or webpage and stick with you in future shows. It´s a slow and hard road to make a name in the scene, but every show is a wonderful chance to gain more fans, for me, if at least only one person leaves the show in love with the band waiting for the next show, I´m happy.

J: Not so many long ago we did together some PR for the band having El Comercio (Peru’s most important newspaper) with positive reviews about the band’s debut videoclip, what are your plans now?

G: Just work and try to do things right. We are always looking for the next step for the band. We release our first album in a month time, we have 3 shows this month, after that we have the Arch Enemy show and 2 weeks after that, we headline one of the biggest local metal festivals in Lima, so we have no stop until the end of the year. We plan on shooting a video early next year for one of the album singles and then we want to record the band playing the whole album live on a location soon to be picked. so, actually we don´t have a PR plan, we just believe in doing things the best we can, and releasing the best material we can do, and with a little luck, word will pass along. There´s always space in the music business for bands who make a good job, we believe in that.

J: What do you think of festivals? What does Metal Madness mean? Tell us if you see potential of getting it outside Peru.

G: Festivals are always awesome. It´s pretty sweet to share the stage with other bands, listen to them, getting to know great musicians and all the vibe around what a festival represents. It´s also a great chance to bring your music to people who do not know. The Metal Madness Festival is pretty important for us because we along with 3 other bands are the promoters. It´s our way to thank everyone who support and listens to us. We put the best equipment we can, we put on the absolute best conditions we can even if we don´t get the money back. As I said, it´s our way to thank our fans and the people who support us in any and every way. It’s still a very early stage to say we’re gonna export this festival outside Peru but we never close any doors.

J: What does “artist management” means to you? Do you think a manager is a vital part of your business or do you believe more in the DIY culture?

G: Of course it´s super important to have a manager. As a musician, it´s vital to have your head on the music. Nothing else, nothing more. You, as an artist, have to be focused on your craft, that´s a main thing if you want to reach certain level. Of course, in the beginning, it´s not easy and you have to do things for yourself until someone checks you out and wants to take a chance with you, that may take some time, so it´s always very important to know how to move your band in the market until someone wants to do business with you. You have to know how to do things for yourself first, then delegate…