Proving Your Ingenuity

Artists work so hard to make recordings – while making so little in return – because recordings give musicians exposure, both to the media and to fellow professionals. A recording can also open the door to concert halls. After having recorded with the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, I now have the opportunity to open the season with the Lamoureux Orchestra at the Theatre de Champs-Elysées, in addition to conducting engagements with several other reputable orchestras, explains harpsichordist and conductor Bruno Procopio. I never could have done these things without my album, which really launched things.

Selling At a Loss

Some musicians go as far as to create their own record labels. I decided to create my record label, Paraty, to make a living from music, while producing my own recordings Bruno Procopio continues. To survive and in order to expand the catalogue, I also had to produce recordings for other musicians. For me, the goal is to change the artists’ point of view with respect to their recordings, so that they are not just performers, but also the owners of their recordings. In a conventional set-up, record labels own both the master recording as well as the final product. If the label decides not to reissue it, it is impossible for the artist to recover the master and publish it elsewhere, explains Bruno Procopio. The deal with my label is different: the musicians finance the master, which belongs to them, and I am the publisher – and I distribute their album via my distributor: Harmonia Mundi. Once the stocks are depleted, the musicians have the opportunity to reissue their album through a new contract with the label – or they can do it with different label. They can also buy their album from the label at manufacturing cost – a few euros apiece – to sell them after their concerts.

Since an album generally doesn’t remain in record stores for more than a few months, and even then the number of copies is limited, it’s largely up to the musicians to buy and sell their own recordings.