June 25, 2024

Media Decoder Blog: American Independent Music Labels Plan Trade Trip to Asia

To compete in the global marketplace, the major record companies have branches and subsidiaries all over the world. Most small labels do not have that advantage, so for help they are turning to federal and state government agencies.

On Wednesday, the American Association of Independent Music, or A2IM, a nonprofit trade group for about 300 small labels, will take a delegation representing 15 of its members to Hong Kong; Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai to meet with business contacts and study foreign markets. Participating labels include Ultra, which releases dance music; VP, reggae; and Daptone, rhythm and blues, and funk.

The band Antibalas records on Daptone, a record label that is part of a trade mission to Asia.Chad Batka for The New York TimesThe band Antibalas records on Daptone, a record label that is part of a trade mission to Asia.

The trip will cost about $200,000, of which A2IM members will pay $32,000. The rest will be covered by grants from Tennessee, New York State and the federal Small Business Administration. On Friday, A2IM announced that it had received a $284,000 grant from the United States Department of Commerce for future trips. The grant is part of the Commerce Department’s Market Development Cooperator Program, which frequently supports small and midsize businesses.

“Over half of our members don’t have offices outside the U.S.,” Rich Bengloff, president of A2IM, said in an interview Friday. “If they do, most only have offices in London or are focused strictly on Europe.”

Mr. Bengloff said the trips were part of an effort to solicit for American labels and artists the government support that has long been available in Canada and in Europe. Many countries, for example, offer grants to musicians to tour and represent their cultures at industry gatherings like the annual South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals in Austin, Tex.

Another goal is simply to help American music and labels when the United States market — while still the largest in the world — is slipping. In 2005, the United States represented 34 percent of the world’s wholesale music business, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry; in 2010 and 2011, it was 26 percent.

“For our members, most sales have been in the U.S. marketplace,” Mr. Bengloff said. “The U.S. marketplace is not enough now.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/small-music-labels-to-court-asia/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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