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GEO FOCUS SPAIN


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While still struggling economically after the recession of 2009, Spain’s passion for local music has helped the live and recording industries weather the country’s financial storm.


SPAIN HAS been one of the countries most affected by the Eurozone crisis with its media market taking a considerable hit. Several of the country’s largest media companies and broadcasters have been forced to lay off staff adding to the national unemployment rate of 27.6%. Yet the Spanish pro-audio industry seems to be making a slow but steady recovery from the crash of 2009. While actual quantity of sales has decreased slightly since 2011, the total worth of products sold has increased, signaling a move to more expensive gear and an investment in pro-audio kit.


Much like the rest of Europe, massive music festivals are helping drive the industry in Spain not only for live music but for rental and rigging companies brought in to support acts. One of the most popular for attracting international audiences, Primavera Sound, returns to Barcelona once again at the end of May bringing artists ranging from Arcade Fire and The National, to Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, and Warpaint. Other festivals include Sonar and Benicassim, both of which combine popular international acts with


lesser-known Spanish bands. Yet while these internationally marketed festivals are comparatively thriving, smaller local productions have had to adapt quickly to the changing economic climate. Many cultural events in Spain have relied on government subsidies, yet since the most recent economic recession these funds have almost all but disappeared. Taking its place major brands such as Telefónica and Estrella Damm have funded tours and festivals.


In some cases, the artists themselves are even subsidising the live industry. For his latest European tour, American rock star Jon Bon Jovi waived his fee for his concert at the Estadio Vicente Calderón in Madrid on June 27 last year with the reduced price of €18 to €33 going towards the costs for the venue, operating costs, and show staff. "When we started planning our tour for our album, What About Now, we did a study and found that, due to the economic situation, Spain wouldn’t be on the roadmap,” the frontman told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "However, we didn't want to ditch the fans of a country I love and has treated


me so well for 30 years." While the country’s European neighbours in Italy saw an increase in recorded music revenues for the first time since 2002 last year, the Spanish recording industry is continuing to struggle. From 2006 to 2010, sales of recorded music in Spain dropped 50% with physical album sales being cut in half. The penetration of digital distribution models also appears to be slower in Spain than in the rest of Europe according to Plataforma Tecnológica de los Contenidos Digitales para, which provides numbers of downloaded tracks.


Despite the low numbers, a large amount of music sales in recent years have been attributed to local repertoire. According to the IFPI’s (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) latest report, 80% of Spain’s top 10 albums in 2012 came from domestic artists.


On top of this, the country has a healthy studio industry with a number of high-profile residential and commercial facilities including El Mirador, the home of legendary producer Youth (Killing Joke, The Orb,


Sonic Vista Studios – Inspired by Ibiza >>> RECORDING STUDIO


MOST KNOWN for its clubs and electronic live music scene, Ibiza also attracts high-profile international artists looking to put down tracks while enjoying the Mediterranean beaches. We chat with Sonic Vista Studios’ L Henry Sarmiento II about Ibiza Rocks, recording top pop acts, and living on an island.


You’re originally from New York, why did you make the move to Spain? I was living in San Francisco running Herbie Herbert’s studio (Sy Klopps Studios) for many years before moving to Ibiza. I felt that I wanted to make a new studio on an island and get away from the city life, and the best island I felt that needed a professional working environment was Ibiza.


Has being in such an electronic musical mecca as Ibiza helped the studio? Since it’s the mecca of electronic music it draws many artists even after dance and pop music merged and more artists started to come to Ibiza to perform. When major artists are in Ibiza and wish to work, I get the phone call. Also, outside the summer season, artists like to come to the studio as Ibiza is a very inspiring place.


You work with Ibiza Rocks doing live recording as 20 March 2014 Thrones, HBO, and the BBC, to name a few.


Tell me a bit about your studio set-up gear-wise. It’s a hybrid of the best in analogue and digital, including Avid Pro Tools HDX, Burl Audio, Manley, Millennia, GML, Elysia, Thermionic Culture, Solid State Logic, Crane Song, TC Electronic, Akai, Softube, Waves, Kush Audio, sE Electronics, Dynaudio, Monkey Banana, Yamaha, Modulus and many others amazing brands.


well, how have you seen the live music scene evolve in the past few years? In 2005 Ibiza Rocks started doing live shows and bringing major artists to the island to perform. Slowly there are more live shows happening and this year the Hard Rock Hotel will open and will be another major venue for live concerts. I believe it is important to have a balance of live artists, venues and DJ clubs to give more options for people to be entertained.


What sort of artists have you had through your doors since you opened in 2004? Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, Akon, David Guetta, Ne-Yo, Swedish House Mafia, Red Foo(LMFAO), Taio Cruz, The Ting Tings, Eva Herzigova, Game of


How have you seen the market for professional recording studios change in the past few years? Is there anything that might be unique to Ibiza or Spain in general? The laptop has become such an important tool as many electronic artists travel nonstop and work on planes and hotels. But they still need to enter a professional studio environment to record and listen properly and focus without distractions.


What are your plans for the future? Always expanding and providing inspiring and creative locations for artist/talent to make hits! We’ve also just joined Miloco’s list of professional studios. www.sonicvistastudios.com


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Paul McCartney); Sonic Vista Studio, which has played host to Lady Gaga, Akon, and David Guetta, among others; and Music Lan Studios (Shakira, Franz Ferdinand).


The Valencia campus of Berklee College of Music also recently opened a Walters-Storyk Design group- designed recording and teaching facility including a 1,600sqft scoring stage – Studio K – which features an 860sqft live room complete with a 15ft ceiling and variable acoustics. “The studio complex needed to make a statement in a design- conscious country, and be technically and acoustically capable of


representing a desirable destination for professional work,” said Carl Beatty, Berklee chief of staff. “We decided to employ Avid/Euphonix controllers to take advantage of their Eucon protocol that allows seamless migration of projects across the facility, all the way up to the flagship System 5. Additionally, when we install an identical console in Boston, we will be doing real-time joint sessions between the two locations via Internet2 technology.”


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