An Interview with The Italia Music Export
by Ariana Pleasure
It is no secret that music is one of the most appreciated and valued aspects about Austin, Texas. It can be a long and complex road to build up a music career, especially if the goal is to branch out all over the world. Organizations such as the Italia Music Export help provide musicians with resources to make the most out of their music careers. Nur Al Habash and Chiara Gallerani who run the Italia Music Export make sure that Italian musicians have a way towards a wholesome and successful career beyond the Italian borders.
Check out their amazing blog! With just a few clicks you have access to an entire database of Italian musicians that are making their way onto the scenes of a number of different countries. There is a wide variety of music genres and also many playlists to pick from.
I got the chance to chat with both Nur the founder of Italia Music and her assistant Chiara about the spectacular job they do at introducing Italian artists into the complex international music scene. Here is some of what they had to say!
Ariana: How did the Italia Music Export come about, and how has it changed since the beginning?
CHIARA: It all started with Nur! Before running Italia Music Export, she worked as editor in chief at Rockit.it, one of the most important music webzines in Italy, and she noticed that more or less every European country had a music export office, except for Italy. So she started thinking about creating an Italian music export office. She wrote down a project and a budget (with help from her colleagues at Rockit.it) and she started looking for sponsors, She thought that knocking on door of SIAE (the Italian collecting society) would have been a good idea, and in fact she found the right people there. SIAE immediately understood the need for this music export office in Italy and totally supported it. After six months, the office was already running.
From the beginning, it has always been just the two of us. We started designing the website, our database and we met a lot of Italian music professionals in order to understand their needs regarding music export. Starting from that feedback we got, and observing the other European export offices, we built our programmes: promotion tools, funding schemes, workshops and other tutoring activities. I think that since the end of 2017 (when Italia Music Export was launched) we have really achieved a lot, and we improved all our export activities. I don't want to come out as vain, but I think we're doing a great job! :)
Ariana: What do you believe is the best process when it comes to internationalizing Italian artists?
CHIARA & NUR: It's not about Italian artists, we think the process is the same for everybody, regardless of their country of origin. First thing first, the artist and his/her management have to understand where they want to export their music and why. Then they have to set some progressive goals. From that point onwards, they can build a strategy and start studying/analyzing a specific foreign music market, collecting information, data, contacts, and begin their business journey abroad. Our role is to help them through this whole process.
Ariana: What excites you most about SXSW and what are you hoping will come out of it this year for the Italia Music Export?
CHIARA: It's our second time at SXSW! But as it's so huge, I think it will a "second first time", because we haven't explored the whole festival yet. So, I'm really excited about finding new SXSW aspects and opportunities. I hope that all the Italian artists, with our help, will really take advantage of what SXSW can offer: new contacts, live reviews and being noticed by the pros in the audience. Ten Italian artists will be showcasing in Austin, you'll find every music genre: from pop, folk, shoegaze, world music to rock.
Ariana: What would you say makes Italian music and musicians unique from others?
CHIARA: I don't think Italian musicians have something unique compared to the others. Every artist is special for different reasons: their cultural heritage, their life experiences, their musical background - just to name a few factors. Maybe Italian musicians can compose and write songs in sunnier and nicer weather than others (I'm joking...climate change is affecting Italy too!).
Ariana: Any advice you would give an upcoming artist or someone wanting to start their own business that acknowledges and appreciates art and music like the Italia Music Export?
CHIARA: Be passionate, believe in what you're doing and work really hard. But I think this can be used for every kind of business :)
NUR: In addition to what Chiara said, all very true, I can say it's important to be very methodical and give a great importance to data. I know this approach can sound weird if applied to music, but I think it really makes sense.
Ariana: There are so many students interested in music, how can students help and get involved with Italia Music Export?
CHIARA: They can help us spread the word about Italia Music Export - SIAE and Italian artists in general. I'd like to invite all the students that are reading this interview to visit www.italiamusicexport.com and be curious about all the talented Italian artists that are playing all around the world and about their incredible music.
And of course, I'd like to invite them to join us at SXSW, they are welcome at the Italian showcases! Here are the artists from Italy playing this year: Be Forest, Birthh, Rev Rev Rev, Her Skin, Damien McFly, Giungla, YOY, Baseball Gregg, Mascarimirì and La Terza Classe.
As you can see, both Nur and Chiara are very passionate about what they do and truly have a heart for not only Italian musicians, but anyone that supports music regardless of their origin. Because of their hard work and effort we have been introduced to a variety of Italian artist and some of who we all get the chance see soon during SXSW! Do not miss your chance, this will be a great experience, so come out and support!