As possibilities within the music industry continue to evolve throughout the world because of advancements in technology and new ways of collaborations, our sister company Horus Music expanded its business operations to Brazil in 2021 by establishing itself within Latin America. Alongside David McLoughlin, we’re taking a deeper look into what the music industry looks like in Brazil in 2022-2023.
David McCLoughlin is Head of Horus Music Latin America. His role includes helping clients with every part of the music release process from uploading it to the Horus Music platform, marketing, press features, social media guidance and more.
Speaking on this, David explains “It’s all about forging relationships and understanding the local needs. In a market where digital distribution has been well developed over the past 10 years, the goal has been to establish our name and services. It’s been very hands-on, developing projects with clients from the initial phase in the studio until they reach the public.”
How do you help artists within their career?
The priority is always to know what they need and how we can meet their expectations. The local scene can be treated as a market rather than an industry. We have music and a public but there’s not always the structure to orient and create new music professionals. It can feel sometimes like the Groundhog Day movie, where you repeat yourself every day, but when it works, when you see a project begin to take off, there’s nothing better!
What platforms are the most lucrative for a Brazilian music artist and why?
In terms of subscribers, Spotify has 60% of the market, followed by Amazon, Deezer and Apple. There are probably 18 million subscribers of audio platforms, with 64 million Monthly Active Users. But YouTube has a massive 83 million users.
Platforms such as Tik Tok, Kwai and Instagram may not be of major financial significance but their impact in terms of generating a fan base are enormous. The pre-save feature of services such as Feature FM is also of importance, helping artists have an extra leverage when negotiating shows as well as media coverage in press and radio.
An important subject regarding the platforms and income is the royalty split. Roughly speaking, 30% is retained by the DSPs, 58% goes to the label, and 12% to the publisher. This split comes from the time when the labels had studio costs and manufacturing costs for CDs, returns etc. As the labels no longer have these expenses, there’s a growing movement for a change in these royalty divisions. If, as the saying goes, “the song is everything,” why does the composer receive the smallest share?!!
From your experience, what would you say are the 5 most popular genres of music in Brazil?
The national music industry has long had an economy based on its domestic market, with radio and television having had a central role in defining popular culture. A series of successive local musical movements has generated large dividends, including such genres as bossa-nova, jovem-guarda, tropicalia, música popular brasileira (MPB), sertaneja and funk. At the moment, the market is dominated by gospel, funk, sertaneja and hip hop. They seem to have a life span of 3 to 5 years, and then are replaced or merged with another genre.
For DIY artists looking to raise their profile in Latin America, here’s 4 Top Tips from David:
- There comes a moment where an artist needs to understand that he or she is involved in a professional activity. It may only last a few years or a lifetime, but you are part of a competitive industry where copyright is king, whether it be a composition, a recording or even an artistic name. The legal structures exist to protect and administer this. So, it’s essential to have a basic grasp of how this works.
- The success of an artist has much to do with assembling a team who are supporting and commercializing all of this. Constant networking is key. Attend trade fairs and music conferences, building a roster of professional contacts is key, and make sure that you treat them with respect.
- Recognize that social media is a fantastic way of talking directly to your fans, rather than treating it as a Classified Ads page!
- Across the music sectors, many of the artists are also CEOs of their own startups, commercializing their brands and products. The goal is to carve out a niche within a market dominated for decades by major labels and producers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected the world in terms of health and economy, including the music scenes in varying countries. David reveals, “The live entertainment sector was the first in the local music industry to have suffered in the wake of coronavirus in 2020, with festivals, shows and events either rescheduled or cancelled. Many venues closed for good. There was a plethora of live-streaming events with mixed results. But the scene is slowly coming back to life again. Brazil is the largest live market in Latin America. Mega events such as Rock In Rio and Lollapalooza continue to attract major local and international names, drawing publics of over 100,000, and with sponsorship from the beer, food and telecommunications companies.”
How do you feel that music publishing differs in Brazil compared to the UK?
The concept of copyright is very strong in Brazil, dating back to 1827. The Brazilian legal regime is based on the constitutional principle that the author is the exclusive owner of his work. The right of the author in Brazil belongs exclusively to the private sector controlled by private individuals, companies, or collectives.
Since 1990 there has been no state body to look after the norms and fiscal aspects of copyright. The only activity is that of the police repression in the case of crimes against intellectual property and obviously that of the legal system.
The first public performance society was established in 1917. We currently have seven! (Abramus, Amar, Assim, Sbacem, Sicam, Socinpro and UBC), with ECAD (the Central Office for the Collection and Distribution of Rights), created in 1973, to collect royalties for performing and neighbouring rights within Brazil, issuing licenses to radio and TV broadcasters, cinema, live events and general users.
The big music publishers are represented by UBEM, which looks after the blanket agreements with a variety of users, including mechanical rights with the DSPs. This is through a deal with an Argentinian company, BackOffice Music Services. Many publishers prefer to deal directly with the DSPs.
What’s more favoured in Brazil: streaming or radio, and why?
It’s a big country. Outside the major urban areas access to a good digital service can be precarious, so radio and satellite TV are still of importance! There are many large commercial radios in Brazil. Their musical programming is defined through the bête- noire of the industry: commercial negotiations (a legalized form of payola, aka jabá). Their promotional force is huge and undeniable.
A 2019 report, Inside Radio, published by Kantar IBOPE Media, states that 83% of the population listen to radio during an average of 4h33 every day. Also, the five most popular genres correspond to 80% of the songs on radio.
According to a survey by Crowley, sertaneja corresponds to 29%, or almost a third, of the entire radio impact around the country. Right behind, with 25%, is pop music, which covers both Brazilian artists such as Anitta and Iza as well as international names, such as Sam Smith and Maroon 5, followed by gospel (10%), pagode (9%) and pop/rock (8%). The category “others” corresponds to 19%, including genres such as samba, MPB, forró, axé, reggae, rock and Latin, among others. According to the survey, conducted in 13 metropolitan regions, the songs were heard on radio more than 175 billion times over the past year.
The Funk scene has a different public. Although it rivals – and even surpasses – most genres on the digital platforms, including Spotify and YouTube, it does not have the same space on radio.
Video marketing has emerged as one of the best tools for digital marketing. According to MIDiA Research, 79% of Brazilians watched video clips on YouTube in 2019, a number higher than the global average of 44%. The same is true for the number of Brazilian users per week, 65% used YouTube and 30% used Spotify. The global average is 46% for YouTube and 17% for Spotify.
With the cancellation of live shows during the coronavirus pandemic, the platform became one of the principal tools for the sector. Live-streaming events attracted millions of viewers.
The penetration of streaming is between 5% and 10% in Brazil, so there is still enormous space for growth. The importance of mobile phones in Brazil is underlined by the partnerships undertaken with mobile operators. Telecom Italia Mobile have a deal with Deezer; Vivo (owned by Telefonica de España) relies on a renewed Napster/Rhapsody paid service; Claro has its own service, Claro Música, launched in 2012, and powered by iMusica.
For the launch of Tidal in 2018, the company partnered with one of Brazil’s largest mobile communications brands, Vivo, creating a strategy where Vivo would offer its clients a lower price for Tidal subscriptions. This allowed Tidal to have a wider geographical reach.
The two principal national streaming companies are – Sua Musica and Palco MP3. Sua Musica has over thirteen million active users and focuses on local genres such as sertaneja, forro and arrocha. They concentrate their activities in the northeast region of Brazil, where the digital world is less developed and people are more engaged with local musical styles. Many national artists carry out exclusive releases on these platforms, attracting potential users as well as stimulating existing customers to upgrade to a paid subscription.
How far in advance do Brazilian artists usually plan their music releases and campaigns. Why is this important to the success of the song?
Many artists do want to get everything online a few days after getting the tracks mastered! Presave has become the magic word here, sometimes to the detriment of other promotional tools. Press and blogs are important but – unless the journalist will just copy and paste the press release – it usually takes a month for a new album to be reviewed. Specialized radio programmes also work with a similar time period. And then there’s the follow up. Once the album or single is online what can be done to give it new life and make it relevant again?
Tell our readers a bit about how sync can help artists grow their career and monetise their works?
The sync sector was previously dominated by the national TV stations and their production of soap-operas. And, although the market is very focused on revenue from the streaming platforms, sync and public performance rights from TV is a revenue source that continues to grow. Video games are also beginning to be of importance. Although we don’t really have music supervisors in Brazil, there are now several one-stop companies specialized in sync. The publishers, increasingly, have their own sync departments. The benefits are obvious, whether it be the financial return (as a licensing fee or performance royalties) or in terms of the media and public it can create. But for it to happen, the artist has to be ready. So many sync opportunities arrive marked “Urgent. Need this by Friday!!” so the artist has to have the whole copyright aspect properly authorized. Are there any samples on the recording? Do all the band members agree? Does anyone else need to give the go-ahead? Is there an instrumental version of the track? And so on. A good sync placement can be a life changer, so it’s essential to have all bits and pieces ready.
Why should music artists increase their knowledge of music publishing?
The music industry has changed. An artist can no longer have the privilege of just looking after the art and letting someone else look after business (as so many artists have learned). A copyright is for life (plus 70 years) so it’s worth looking after it properly.
What Brazilian artists should we look out for in 2022 and into 2023?
There are two that I’m loving. Disstantes and Muse Maya. Disstantes are two guys from Rio who recorded an album during the pandemic. It’s a hip hop/alternative body of work with a nice punk mentality. Meanwhile Muse Maya is a pop singer with an R+B/baile funk streak. She’s just recorded with a London-based artist, Tino Kamal. I’ve high hopes for both.
If you are a songwriter, looking to know more about music publishing or are looking for more information on the music industry in Brazil, connect with us!