“You think the record market is suffocating? Let’s just say it’s changing a lot”. Gianluca Perrelli, 37, who flashes an evil little grin to go with his cutting remark, is one of the precursors of “liquid” music in Italy.
“Back in 2004 was when iTunes came to Italy: that was the benchmark year” says Perrelli, who was then a marketing director at Vitaminic. He quit his job and launched what would later become a holding company with three subsidiaries: 2Music is the parent company of Kiver, Kiver Digital and BangBite. “Now Kiver Digital is the online distributor of digital musical content” continues Perrelli, who has signed up about a hundred labels for a total of 25,000 tracks. “We cover every type of distribution network, starting from 400 online stores operating worldwide”.
His business is flourishing: the company has three offices, in Milan, Turin and Sassari, 37 employees most of whom are between 27 and 30, and sales in 2011 for 4 million euros. Last July it opened its capital to two investors: Idoo, the private equity fund of the Vannucci family (les and Socotherm group); and Digital Sicar Investment, a Luxembourg fund specialized in hi-tech. “Loading tracks online isn’t enough. The real trump is being able to create interest around an artist by, for example, organizing specific events capable of triggering a really viral campaign”.
One example says it all: the EP (a sort of mini-album with a total of 4 tracks) that Mario Biondi launched at the end of September for the Tattica label in exclusive on iTunes. “The EP is called “Gambling Man” and it came a year after the last – If – by the Sicilian artist” Perrelli tells us, placing the accent on the importance of the web on the promotional plane. Memory goes to RadioHead, the British rock group that launched the album In Rainbows on its own website with the formula of the free offer.
Those who wanted to pay something could do so and those who didn’t want to could download it anyway. The result was an unprecedented word of mouth, and sales even in the physical stores above and beyond (well beyond!) expectations.