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Unlocking the International Potential of Colombian Indies Global Alliance How to turn creativity into sustainable cultural industries? Access to national and international markets SMEs as fundamental source of growth and job creation Public/private partnerships

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global alliance
Global Alliance
  • How to turn creativity into sustainable cultural industries?
  • Access to national and international markets
  • SMEs as fundamental source of growth and job creation
  • Public/private partnerships


  • June 2004: Colombian Ministry of Culture approaches Global Alliance
  • August 2004: draft project submitted
  • January 2005: fact-finding mission
  • October 2005: findings presented in Colombia
  • October 2006: WOMEX
Anteproyecto para el fortalecimiento de empresas independientes de producción y promoción de músicas locales

Draft project to strengthen independent companies working in production and promotion of local music

mission and method
Create awareness

Open up dialogue

Collect information




Round table

Face-to-face interviews


Mission and Method
  • Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Commerce, Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo (IDCT), Proexport, Universidad Nacional, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Javeriana, British Council Colombia, Fundación Corona
  • Corporación Cultural Cabildo, Guana Records, Colectivo la Distritofónica, Grupo Sincopando, Discosoye, Negramenta, Corporación Tornasol, Catapulta
  • MTM, Codiscos, Astar Music


  • In 2004 Colombia 4th largest sales-by-volume in Latin America
  • 2004 sales figures less than half the size of 1997
  • A gold disc is worth 10,000 units
  • IFPI* report 2005: Domestic repertoire accounts for just 22% of the local market
  • 7.8% access to the Internet, 60% by dial-up

*International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

  • Music industry structure
    • Distribution
    • Live performance
    • Media
  • Public support
    • Training
    • Grants and prizes
    • Tax Incentives
    • Information & Research
  • International
priorities developments
Priorities & Developments
  • Training
  • Information
  • Steering group to make the project relevant to the real needs of the industry
  • Trade-fair
  • Sergio Arboleda Music Industry training
  • Funding via with the Organisation of Ibero-American States (OEI)
colombian artists at womex 2006
Colombian Artists at WOMEX 2006

Petrona Martínez

Los Aterciopelados

Totó La Momposina Winner of WOMEX Award 2006

‘When we started no Colombian rock was played on the radio,

there were no engineers, no lighting people, no video people,

no roadies, no trained musicians, no managers….nothing. 

Now all of the above are here to stay and grow’.

Andrea Echeverría, Los Aterciopelados

Humberto Moreno co-founder and president of MTM record label and distributor based in Bogotá
  • Operating for sixteen years with strong emphasis on traditional Colombian and international music
  • Releases in Colombia include Polo Montañez, Martirio, Totó la Momposina, Petrona Martínez, Antonio Arnedo, Arista, Jorge Velosa y Los Carragueros
  • Artists in development include Etelvina Maldonado, Veteranos del Caribe, Mojarra Eléctrica, Dr Harvey, Tico Arnedo
  • Colombian licencee or distributor for prestigious international labels including Putumayo, Narada, Lusáfrica and Nuevos Medios
colombian artists in world market
Diverse regional traditions

Increasingly influential position in world market

Major artists in the mid-40s:

Pacho Galán

Lucho Bermúdez

Carmencita Pernett

Tony Camargo

Current success:



Carlos Vives

Los Aterciopelados

Colombian Artists in World Market

Lucho Bermúdez

background to the colombian music industry
Background to the Colombian Music Industry
  • Importers based in Medellín, Barranquilla, Bogotá
  • Discos Fuentes formed in Cartagena in the mid 1930s
  • Prohibition on imports in the early 1940s sparked small labels and strengthened the local industry: Discos Tropical, Discos Curro, Discos Silver, Sonolux, Zeida, Discos Vergara

© Urbanimage

decade of boom and crisis
Decade of Boom and Crisis
  • 1990s lifted market figures by more than five times between 1991-1996
  • Accompanied by period of economic growth
  • Multinationals start to open affiliates
  • End of ’90s: crash
  • Onset of piracy
  • Closure of small shops, retail chains and distributors
  • 5 companies closed down in last few years including BMG & Warner affiliates


new projects
New Projects
  • Despite unfavourable situation, a surprising number of new projects have been established in the last year:
    • Verónica Orozco www.veronica-orozco.com
    • Inés Gaviria www.inesgaviria.com
    • Sin Ánimo de Lucro www.myspace.com/sinanimodelucro
    • Bonka www.myspace.com/bonkacolombia
    • Tinto
    • Naty Botero www.natybotero.com
    • Jerau www.jerau.com
    • Fanny Lu www.fannylu.com
  • Incredibly all independent or self-produced
  • Two pressing plants: Disonex & CD Systems – able to produce 2 million units a month while demand on legal market is only 500,000 units on average
independent labels
Independent Labels
  • Ability to record in small or home studios
  • Explosion in new self-produced artists
  • Many disappear as quickly as they appear but others around to stay:

La 33 / Real Charanga / Bonka / QuicChocTown / Dr Krápula Kema / Pescao Vivo / Inés Gaviria / La Conmoción

Dr Krápula

new companies
New Companies
  • With almost every new artist, a new label is born
  • New companies have been formed:
    • Gili Music
    • Origin Entertainment
    • K Discos (Warner)
    • All Music
    • Canzion
    • LG Music
traditional new music
Traditional & New Music
  • Colombia a regional country:
    • Caribbean Coast, Pacific Coast, Andes, Plains
  • African, indigenous & Hispanic influences
  • Caribbean rhythms with international recognition:
    • Cumbia, Vallenato, Porro, Paseo…
  • ‘Tropipop’ tendency in last 10 years
  • Fuse traditional with urban styles:
    • Carlos Vives, Fonseca, Fanny Lú, Bacilos,

Mauricio y Palo de Agua, Sidestepper


© Urbanimage

traditional artists
Traditional Artists
  • Awoken an interest in traditional artists
    • Totó La Momposina
    • Grupo Bahía
    • Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto
    • Petrona Martínez
    • Etelvina Maldonado
  • Sales not sufficient to attract majors so only medium-scale promotion

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

© Alvaro Ernesto Ortiz & Ellen Speiser

  • Distributor is also the retail owner
    • receives distributor discount, plus gross profit and other incentives - ends up with 60% of PPD
  • 3/4 clients control more than 85% of the market
  • Puts producers in a weak position
  • Retail market dominated by chains:
    • La Música, Prodiscos, Tower Records, La Rumbita, Servimúsica, Tango Discos, Forum, Millenium
  • Belief that availability of titles should be limited to popular titles so retailers unwilling to showcase new artists
direct sales
Direct Sales
  • Distributors & traditional retailers do little to promote home-grown artists
  • Independent & self-produced artists must arrange their own sales, before & after performances
  • Generally meet with success

Etelvina Maldonado

  • Very limited media outlets for non-mainstream music:
    • University and cultural radios
    • Press
      • Cultural magazines - Semana, Cambio, Soho, Jet-Set, Caras
      • Newspapers - El Tiempo, El Espectador, El Colombiano, El Espacio
    • TV
      • National - Señal Colombia, Canal Institucional
      • Regional - TeleCaribe, Teleantioquia
live performances
Live Performances
  • Many venues and occasions for live performances, regional festivities and company events
  • Key way to promote national artists – more than half start out in clubs & bars
  • Reality TV programmes provide opportunities for new artists, even if quality is doubtful
key venues in bogot

Galería Café Libro

Punto G

El Sitio


Salomé Pagana


Teatro R101

Casa de Citas

Cabaret Son


Alto Café El Anónimo


Auditoría de la Antigua Calle

Key Venues in Bogotá
major campaigns
Major Campaigns
  • Current Colombian market sales only one sixth of figures during golden age of ’90s
  • Gold disc: previously 60,000 units
  • Major TV campaigns few and far between – if lucky, sales reach 50,000 units
  • Not enough to recover high publicity costs, without taking into account damaging effects of piracy
  • Optimistic estimates calculate piracy at 70% of Colombian market
  • Commercially driven music industry encourages illegal activity
  • Socio-economic problem
  • Cannot be solved solely by repressive measures
the way forward
The Way Forward?
  • Technology slow to arrive in Colombia, at least for 80% of population with lowest purchasing power
  • Government needs to introduce effective and dynamic support mechanisms for self-producers, new labels & local industry
  • Potential to develop music as key cultural industry and turn it into one of the country’s main exports