“There is a good chance that for 2021 we will have internationally successful performers from the region...” Interview with Tony Duckworth

“There is a good chance that for 2021 we will have internationally successful performers from the region...” Interview with Tony Duckworth

According to Tony Duckworth, there is a good chance that for 2021 we will have internationally successful performers from the region. He is going to talk about this, and the criterias of success of the Eastern European bands on the conference of Budapest Showcase Hub (BuSH) between 16-18 November.

Tony Duckworth is dealing with the Central-Eastern European issues of the big independent group (PIAS). PIAS is participating in the marketing and propagation of relevant, independent labels such as aMute, Ipecac, DFA, Fat Possum, Real World etc.

Local performers are getting better

In this region, local music is particularly important. Their market share is probably getting even stronger, as the region - and the world - is getting more and more nationalist. In politics, it isn’t a good tendency, but in culture it can be a pulling power.

The musicians are getting more and more pros; there is a spectacular improvement in the song-writing abilities, musical knowledge and also how they can demonstrate all these. This is due to the fact that you can have access to anything, there is a lot more musical impact on local performers. It is certain, that eg. more Polish musicians listen to Dinosaur Jr. now than 2 years ago.

The region is on the map

The leading force was live music. More and more performers do tours here. In this respect, Prague was always in a good position, but for example Warsaw wasn’t included among the “must see cities”. Nowadays, when planning the tours, there is the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland among the goals. The publishers followed this: they saw how many of their artists do concerts here, they realized, it is worth to pay attention. This is the reason why we opened an office in Warsaw. It is already a developed market.

Chances are getting better for a breakout

There is a good chance, that for 2021, we will have internationally successful performers from the region. A big help can be if someone has a hinterland. In this respect, Poland has the best position. Our Polish performer, Brodka - who will perform live on BuSH - sells enough albums, so we can finance her promotions in other locations. For example, lately she was on a tour with Beth Orton in the UK, and we had the framework to promote it. But it isn’t carved in the stone - if it would be, no one ever would hire a band from Iceland. Maybe, we meet a performer, who doesn’t have a base, but we say: “We want them!”.

Album buyers and festival visitors

Among the consumers there are two sides. For one type of music fan recorded music has value, and he will continue to buy it. The other type likes music, but is listening online streaming, and for him the most important is the festival experience, and to belong to a community. For rock and heavy metal fans the physical sound recorder is important, and these are very strong in the region. Most of the festivals offer the mixture of alternative and electronic dance music, targeting two markets at the same time.

In some places, rock, metal and older musicians are more popular: in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary we can lean on eg. Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Nick Cave catalogues. In Poland, for the newspapers exists only rock, they are able to write something about Deep Purple every month. In the Czech Republic newer music is in the forefront in the media, but the sales are not that high, like in Croatia and Slovenia.

The festival balloon will not explode

In Hungary and Poland a lot of people says, that all these festivals are a “balloon” that will explode, but I think we have just the appropriate quantity. The point is, that we can differentiate them from each other, on this field I am counting on the innovation. If there is something that is too much, it is the club concert. In some places the choice grew to its triple in a few years. Of course there will be less people on the concerts. I think in five years the supply will be on a level, that the market can maintain.   

There can be more record stores

The big chains, that are relevant for physical publications, fell back; the czech Bontonland for example closed the half of its shops. The stores also lower or remove their album supply. In Great Britain this trend is resulted in the opening of loads of record stores. In this region it hasn’t started yet, but I hope there will be entrepreneurs, who will see the business opportunity to serve those album buyers, who were resigned by the big chains.

Although I believe in the future of physical publications, probably there will be markets which will be dominated by digital. There are countries, where we are thinking if it is worth to issue physical publications at all; for example in Hungary, the 70% of our revenues are digital.