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Music Industry in Georgia has not Become Business

An interview with Director of the sound record company Bravo Records  Zaza Shengelia

A lot is said and written about the fact that the Georgian show business stopped, and nothing is going on there. What is the situation in this area, and whether   it gets  to do business in this area?
The situation is very complicated. I cannot say  that show business is in crisis. For example,there are movies that are profitable, there is more or less nightlife in the country. We can speak about a  large-scale crisis only in  the music industry.

It  just died, and one of the reasons for this is piracy in the country. And this is despite the adoption and implementation of anti-piracy measures as a commitment under Georgia’s accession to the World Trade Organization and the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.

Copyright in Georgia is absolutely unprotected, the state has no meaningful system in this regard, even while it is not clear which agency is responsible for the implementation of the law. As a result,  musicians cannot earn income from the sale of their CDs.

CDs with the music of Georgian artists sold in stores and cost GEL 20-25, but on the market pirated discs  can be  easily bought for  GEL 2-3.

Even worse is the situation in the Internet field. We have a total of 4 internet providers which  have to block pirate sites, but despite this they are still active and thriving.

How does your website Bravisimo.ge work?

This is the only legal site. Previously, Internet providers said – let’s say we will block access to the pirate sites, but is there any alternative? Well, now there is an alternative. We have worked on the site for 4 years and  launched it on  May 3.

What is the sales statistics?

There are very few sales. It is based on the basic human psychology. If one can get something for free, why pay money for it? Very few people pay attention to the quality of the recording, sound, packaging, etc.

Therefore, copyright protection is primarily a responsibility of the state, Association of Copyright Protection and the Competition Agency. Piracy is an illegal business, people steal someone else’s product. No one doubts when it comes to medicine, food production, construction, etc., then why it does not apply to creativity? Because of this approach, singers, composers, lyricists, arrangers cannot earn an income corresponding to their activities.

Can Georgian musicians make a living only from   their profession? In addition, in Georgia there are winners in many different shows. How does  their activity continue after the victory in a competition?

In general, the demand exists and it is  natural – the music and entertainment are always in demand. Another thing is how to get them – a problem is  that it is done illegally for free.

As for the winners of various competitions, they have no chance to make living from their  musical activities ,  maximum they can do  is to sing in restaurants and clubs, corporate events, etc. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with it and the stars of world scale do it  and receive  fees for it.

But the problem is that in our country it’s  the only source of income for musicians, while they don’t receive  revenues from  the sale of CDs or online sales, they have no concerts, touring, as the country lacks a touring infrastructure, and there are no music halls in the regions where you can hold concerts.

Now, there is basically demand for private orders. This may be corporate, and very rarely – state events. If the music industry is not formed as  business, then nothing will make sense – neither promotion, no PR campaign or marketing.

Everything will be focused on  PR campaign   in order to increase the degree of awareness of the singer.

Whether concerts and tours are held?

From time to time they are held but not systematically. Our goal is  to restore the infrastructure, which is practically destroyed. In addition, policy also prevents the development of touring – the fact is that politicians are accustomed to hold free concerts in different regions in the pre-election period. As a result, the corresponding culture has formed. Why pay for a concert in the regions, if the country constantly holds elections and singers sing in the concerts for free.