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  Industry Profile

Industry Profile: Michele Amar

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Michele Amar, dir. of Bureau Export/Head of The Music Department, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.

Multi-faceted, and bilingual Michele Amar is dir. of Bureau Export New York, and head of The Music Department, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.

As well, she is dir. of France Rocks, and the French American Cultural Exchange.

Headquartered in New York, and Washington, D.C. with 8 regional offices, Cultural Services is a division of the French Embassy in the United States with a mission of providing Americans with access and resources to engage with French culture, and promote it in their own communities.

Since 1993, Bureau Export—which has 5 offices around the world with a central office in Paris--has partnered with the French music industry in the development of its contemporary and classical music artists internationally. Its aim is to help French professional members to develop the presence of their artists and their productions abroad, and thus promote the sale of French music internationally.

As a result, Amar has built up strong relations with an array of American music professionals, including label personnel, distributors, booking agents, festival and concert promoters, and journalists in order to develop and coordinate a French presence in the U.S.

The French presence in America will be underscored this year by the inaugural France Rocks Summerfest in New York from June 3rd through July 23rd. Billed as the largest French music festival ever in the United States, more than 30 artists will perform at an estimated 25 locations.

Paris-born and raised Amar is uniquely well-suited for her varied roles as a New York-based français cultural spokeswoman.

With a Masters in business economics from the Institut Superieur de Gestion (ISG) school in Paris, and fluent in French, English and Spanish, Amar--now in America for over three decades--has worked in numerous sectors of the music industry. She began as an artist followed by a career as a programmer/engineer, and then worked as a producer.

In 1998, she joined Putumayo World Music as dir. of the international department where she developed a distribution network in over 70 countries.

After leaving Putumayo, Amar launched her own independent consulting firm, and worked with the European Music Office, and then as dir. of international content at the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (2004-2009).

You joined the French Music Export office in 2009?

Yes, but I was one of people who staffed the French Music Export Office at the very beginning. In 1993. I joined full-time in 2009.

Your duties involve building music sales, promoting concerts of French artists, and developing the presence of French music in the United States. That includes overseeing French professionals working with their counterparts in America. Do you work under the Cultural Services department of the French Embassy?

Yes. I have two hats. I run the French Music Export office which is like the trade organization behind bureauexport it is called. This is basically supported by the music industry. We work in connecting professionals, French and American professionals, and helping things move along. They don’t always need us, but when they do, we are here to help them.

So that’s the trade part.

The other part is that is that I represent the music department at the cultural cultural services of the French Embassy which is more focused on musical and cultural in general. We offer these two programs, the French-American Jazz Exchange, and also a program for contemporary music. We grant funding each year for several projects to encourage cooperation between French and American musicians. Sometimes it’s commissioned work. Sometimes it’s for a residency in the U.S. So it’s a different approach, but both remain interesting.

The Cultural Services division of the French Embassy we think of as being based solely in New York, but it’s also based in Washington, and has regional offices throughout the United States.

Yes. The Embassy is in D.C., and the cultural offices are based in New York on Fifth Avenue. Then we have 9 other cultural attachés in the United States. In D.C., Boston, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston, Texas as well.

Are you called on to travel a lot or do the regional office oversee local projects on their own?

They do. They have specific projects for their regions. I don’t travel as much as I would like to, but I am traveling quite a lot. We do co-ordinate some great things at South by Southwest. We have the Festival International de Louisiane (Apr. 20-24, 2016) that has a big French presence this year. A lot is happening on the West Coast as well, in L.A., with synch placements, and with electronic music.

You deal with labels, booking agents, concert promoters, festivals, and media representatives. A French artist coming to America may not know who to contact or work with. You get involved with the introductions?

Yes. Absolutely. This is our job. It is the most important part of our job which is to introduce them (French music professionals) to potential partners, and find the right partners for them. Whether they are booking agents, labels or PR firms, yes, that’s what we do. Most of our work is introductions, and connecting artists and professionals together. We work closely with A2IM, the association of Independent labels. We do something during Indie Week in June. We are inviting several French professionals to be part of Indie Week in New York between June 13th and the 16th.

Increased immigration and security demands imposed by a post-Sept. 11, 2001 United States made it more difficult for international artists to work in America. Applications to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) may take 110 to 150 days to process. Then there is no guarantee that an act will be let in. They are doing even more elaborate checks today than just after 9/11.

As a result, a number of European artists have had difficulty in getting U.S. visas which affected their touring activities in North America. Still difficult?

Yes, it still goes on, and it’s very expensive for bands to get their visas. When they are well-organized, and they are able to book a tour 6 to 8 months in advance, then they can apply for their visa which is still very expensive. They can try to secure a tour that pays enough to pay for the (overall tour) costs. Of course, it’s (touring in the U.S.) very costly. If they have a good tour, then they might amortize the price of the visa. They have that option. Or to come to the States for festivals without being paid, which is also very costly. So if they come to SXSW or to CMJ those are additional dates. That’s why we created the France Rock Summerfest because it’s helpful for them touring.

Another date to fill in for French acts touring.

Exactly. They can play on a festival in the park or we can invite them on a free show. It is way for them to have more exposure and visibility, as well. So yes it is still a challenge to organize tours. We are hoping to make a change with visas for our artists, yes.

The inaugural France Rock Summerfest in New York with 30 performers, and 25 locations. Very ambitious.

Yes, yes. This is something that I had wanted to do for several years and we couldn’t make it happen due to budget issues. This time it came together because it involves a celebration in New York which is a partnership between the city of Paris and the city of New York. For this summer and through to October, we wanted to have events happening in Paris and New York to celebrate artists and musicians, as well as films, books and wanted to have a lot of other performances. We managed to build the France Rock Summerfest within this frame. And, yes, it came together really nicely. Also a lot of artists are also playing Les FrancoFolies de Montréal. They are around, and not too far from us. So that was pretty organic that they wanted to come to New York as well. So a lot of the artists that were already in Montreal reached out, and wanted to participate too. So it grew. It grew naturally. We still have people that want to participate now reaching out and we are looking to for possible spots and shows for them. It’s really great.

[The inaugural France Rocks Summerfest, will bring more than 30 performers to roughly 25 locations in New York from June 3 through July 23.

Among the musicians are the young jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée; Lisa Simone, the daughter of Nina Simone; and the emerging French duo Her. The festival includes existing annual events like the daylong Fête de la Musique, based on the French holiday, in Central Park on June 21st.

France Rocks Summerfest is presented in part by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy as well as several French sponsors.]

Earlier this year, you organized three shows at South by Southwest with such acts as Elida Almeida, Joon Moon, Scarecrow, Daniel Antopolsky and Alice on the Roof. Why did you want to do the France Rock Summerfest in New York?

Well, for several reasons. New York is an easy destination to come to. It might possibly move to a different city. I fully hope that we can have it travel to different cities, but New York seems to be a destination that is easy for travel. Paris to New York is a pretty easy flight. We have the most connections with the venues here in New York because we are here. So it is easier to book the space...

Venues like Joe’s Pubs, Le Poisson Rouge, National Sawdust, the Standard Hotel in the East Village, and The Herbert Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Exactly. We have relationships with all of the spaces, and also because Summer Stage has been supporting us for so many years. We are putting together the Central Park show on June 21st and they have been helping us a lot on the festival as well. So yeah for these reasons. We also wanted to do something in parks and to offer free concerts as well.

America’s national media is also concentrated in New York. And there’s strong local media presence as well. All of which you can take advantage of.


Over the years Fête de la Musique has featured M, I AM, and Emilie Simone performing.

That’s right. Every year we’ve had a good turnout for Fête de la Musique on June 21st. Last year, we had a great turnout. M had 5,000 people in 2014. I AM also had 5,000 people in 2013. M had 5,000 people. I AM also had 5,000 people.

Despite the popularity of the likes of David Guetta, MC Solaar, Jean-Michel Jarre, and the late Serge Gainsbourg......

There’s been this pop revival of Serge Gainsbourg and many covers of his songs by younger pop artists.

Other French acts, including Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Vanessa Paradis, Patricia Kaas, and Patrick Bruel are also known to North American audiences.

Yes. These were huge stars in France. How did it (their success) translate in another territory? Some of them can do that. Some of them are unable to. It is about finding ways to touch alternative markets. The great thing about the States is that there are so many niches of people in the U.S. If you don’t reach a mainstream audience, you can always have a success within the niches of people here.

There’s so much diversity today in French music than what was evident in the ‘60s, 70s and ‘80s. Hip-hop arrived in France in the early ‘80s. By the ‘90s, there were such acts as NTM, IAM, Assassin, Ministère AMER, and MC Solaar. At the same time French electronic music broke open with DJ Gregory, Shazz, and Kid Loco followed by Daft Punk, Air, and David Guetta.

Among French artists touring the U.S. now are producer Breakbot, and the electro swing band Caravan Palace. Among the acts displaying the diversity of French music today.

Yes, yes. It’s really blooming. Many artists are starting new bands and many of them have different influences as well. There are great artists from Africa and North Africa with artists from Mali (Republic of Mali). There’s (singer/songwriter) Emel Mathlouthi, a Parisian from Tunisia; Rachid Taha from Paris and Algeria; Yael Naim, from Paris and Tel Aviv, Israel; and there’s great stuff in jazz and electronic music as well. And yes, French pop is exploding.

Acts like Christine and the Queen, which is currently breaking in the UK.

Christine and the Queen, yes. There is also General Elektriks, an amazing band that is mixing pop, electronic, and funk. It’s a great band. We have (electro) swing bands like Caravan Palace and Ginkgoa. Heavy metal is also doing well. We have (progressive metal band) Gojira that was touring with Metallica a few years ago. There is also Laura Cahen who is more folky pop. So there are a lot of things.

Last month Ibeyi turned heads at Coachella and the sister duo is in this year’s Bonnaroo lineup.

Ibeyi, yes. Ibeyi are twin sisters (daughters of the famed Cuban percussionist Anga Díaz, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz were born and raised in Paris, but also lived in Cuba). They have a very unusual sound. They are doing very well in the States. They played Great Escape and South by Southwest last year and this year Coachella and other big events. They are very unusual.

There’s no question that electronic and hip hop has transformed French music in recent years; an abrupt departure from the world of solo singers with original songs that traditionally dominated French pop music.

Yes, I feel that because there was a real gap between the French singers and the lyrics and other things that they were not somehow acceptable for the Anglophone audience, really. There was such a tradition of French songwriting that was so different. With electronic, it kind of brings it all together because they are using sounds, and a certain European savoir faire and mixing that with new technology and new sounds. So it seems like that on both parts (French and American) there’s an attraction to something that is different.

[This week The International Music Summit today released its global business report for 2016 which tallies the impact of the electronic music industry over the past year. It was estimated that over the past 12 months the electronic music sector increased by $200 million (3.5%) to $7.1 billion.]

With electronic, it kind of brings it all together because they are using sounds, and a certain European savoir faire and mixing that with new technology and new sounds. So it seems like that on both parts (French and American) there’s an attraction to something that is different.

For years French hip hop was so different that it didn’t fit into North American hip hop, but today French hip not only fits American hip hop but expands the genre. As well, if you like rock music, you will like a lot of the French hip hop. If you like hip hop you likely will too. French hip hop is greatly influenced by the American rap, but French hip hop artists also have their own style, their own phonetic sounds, and there’s African and Caribbean influences.

Yes, yes exactly. They do not have the same criteria as the hip hop in the States. They are totally free to do whatever they feel in terms of sound. So they mix it like with world music sounds and piano. It is very interesting and there are some beats that are not necessarily in 4/4.

Two important cultural elements are the African and Caribbean influences, which have radicalized French music overall, from immigrants who have moved to France.

Yes, yes. For sure. The Malian influence and the North African influence as well. Yes. It is still in French. So it has to be attractive to the U.S. but it is getting there.

Do French acts have to sing in English to break the American market?

To become a really established artist in the U.S., yes, but you can have great success with something in a different language.

It also depends on whether or not they are seeking to be mainstream. If they are a heavy metal band or a hip hop act it might not matter as much if the lyrics are in French.

You are right, it doesn’t matter. With World Music also, it doesn’t matter. With some pop music it doesn’t matter. It just has to have a great sound and, maybe, they are not fully going to be a mainstream artist, but they will definitely have a chance to succeed, if they reach the right audiences among the niches as well.

Do American music professionals know much about French music, and are they initially concerned about a language issue?

Yes and no because sometimes it could just be about the music, and sometimes I don’t know whether or not if they care, if they like the music, and if they like the character and what is behind it, it could be from France, Belgium or from Canada; it doesn’t really matter, really. The audience has to be behind it, and it has to attract professionals. Sometimes they (the Americans) don’t know much about the (French) artist, and we have to let them know where they come from, and what they have done in the past. But I think that in the end it gets down to what the music is, and if it can succeed here in the U.S. or not.

For example, we had (Belgian musician/singer/rapper/songwriter) Stromae singing in French. He had a great success. Sold out Madison Square Garden. It was a great surprise because it’s an unusual artist. So different than what is happening in the States. That what was attractive, actually.

Edith Piaf was popular worldwide even if her international fans mostly didn’t know the lyrics when she sang in French. Her impact was so visceral.

It goes beyond that. I remember that when I was a kid I used to watch the Eurovision show. It was a contest of songs from the around the world. It was amazing because you had artists singing just one song from their country. You didn’t understand what they were singing, but often it was so moving even without understanding the lyrics. You’d love these songs because of their sound, and the new (musical) influences. Now Eurovision has broadened to something else.

This year Israeli-French singer and songwriter Amir represented France and sang "J'ai cherché,” a song with French and English lyrics, which he co-wrote with Nazim Khaled and Johan Errami. France placed sixth in the final.

That’s right. Amir was there. Now Eurovision is becoming a little more political, I guess.

Over your career you have worked as a consultant on internet marketing issues. You gave a notable presentation titled “Currents and Cross-Currents in Digital Music Distribution” in 2010 at the International Music Council Conference in Tunisia.

As music consumers have transitioned away from physical formats and downloading towards streaming, artists began to achieve broader engagement with global music fans through digital distribution, and social media. Streaming counts, in particular, have the ability to push artists onto the global stage, breaking down traditional A&R, and sales stranglehold of the U.S./UK axis.


It comes down to how you as an artist market yourself?

Yes, and how do you become visible? Yes, because now it’s in the open, and pretty much anybody can emerge from social media, if they are active on social media. How do you emerge? People work with brands. People, of course, work with a lot of social media, and it kind of encourages artists to do their best to present themselves. To become more original in a way, and to find the right channels to become more visible. There are always new tools. There are playlists. There are all of the different streaming services. Now it is about how do you work the social media? You have a little visibility. It’s not about shelf space anymore. It’s about visibility.

It’s about hooking a potential fan and then directly marketing and servicing them.

It’s about engaging the audience and also offering them what they want and more. Also offering great packaging and great, maybe, tools and merchandising; and offering a special thing to the fan. Some of the promotion goes, or is designed, for the fan, and some of it is designed to be lot wider, and may be carried on to larger audiences who are discovering these new international artists. College radio also has a great influence on that discovery of new artists as well. College kids have a gift for finding music that is new, and discovering emerging artists and trends. They take pride in discovering new talent. It comes from the teenagers as well.

In 2013, Mandar Thakur, COO of Times Music in India made an intriguing comment that “internet piracy was actually a good thing to happen.” His argument was that piracy woke up the music industry. Can you imagine if there wasn’t piracy, and that the music industry had kept its head in the sand? Piracy forced the music industry to not be as complacent and led, perhaps, to increased focus by labels and artists in developing international markets.

Yes, yes for sure. Also with the start of digital piracy turned into something else. It was not CDs selling on the street anymore. It was something that was completely uncontrollable. So they definitely had to find a different approach and a new medium as well as look at different musics.

While America still dominates global music sales with its artists, the UK, Canada, Korea, and Australia have also made their marks in recent years.

Yes. Hits are coming from everywhere. From different countries. Not necessarily from the U.S. Yet, the U.S. is still so much the market of the mainstream in some way.

Artist are now popping from other international markets. Look at the success of Lukas Graham from Denmark.

Yes, exactly. So it’s unpredictable. You can have a really great song that is a hit everywhere. Even more in electronic. Absolutely. It’s not controlled by the markets anymore. When I was working at IODA, we were transferring analog catalog into digital. There are still so many international catalogs that have yet to be transferred into digital. There’s still a wealth of music not being represented online.

Many of the holdbacks are due to rights issues. Not knowing the whereabouts or legal status of the original masters.


[Danish rock band Lukas Graham, typifying the new global opportunities available for artists brought about by streaming and social media, has become the breakout act of 2016.

Launching its debut album in 2012 on Copenhagen Records, the Danish foursome’s track “Drunk in the Morning” reached #53 on the Global Spotify chart when only available on the indie label. That success translated to the rest of Europe, and caught the attention of Warner Brothers Records which co-signed the band in 2013. "Drunk in the Morning" then reached #1 on iTunes in Germany. The band’s follow-up single "Happy Home" reached #1 in Denmark in 2014, and went multi-platinum in both Norway and Sweden.

Led by vocalist and songwriter Lukas Graham Forchhammer, the band is topping charts worldwide with the single “7 Years” reaching #1 at both Top 40 and Hot AC radio, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (now #4). Their self-titled debut album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, and is currently at #24. Lukas Graham sold out his first U.S. headline tour and will continue to play festivals and sold out shows around the world in 2016.]

Where did you grow up in Paris?

I was born in the 18th arrondissement, and that’s where I grew up. My dad worked in fashion, in garments, and my mom was a mom at home.

Have you fully adapted to America?

Yes. I’ve been here for over 30 years.

Do your years as an artist yourself help you in understanding the music business and working with artists? You recorded and wrote music under the name Virus and....

I can’t believe that you found that.

And you were in the band Sulfur with that dramatic album title, “Delirium Tremens.”

It’s another state of mind when you pass the state of conscious, but you are still...

It means a seizure caused from the withdrawal of alcohol.

(Charles) Baudelaire talked about the state in incredible ways, where it’s like another stage of consciousness where you have hallucinations or visions.

You have a masters in business economics from Institut Superieur de Gestion (ISG) in Paris. Your parents must have been enchanted that you moved to New York in 1985 to work as an artist after receiving a degree from a business school.

I came to the States to work in finance. To work in banking. After 6 months, I realized that my real love was music. So I switched from banking to working in a recording studio, Unique Recording Studios in ‘85 and ‘86. It was one of the greatest places i ever worked at. It was a great recording studio with so many people, and with so many great artists. I learned a lot about production there.

[Located just off of Times Square in the top three floors of the Cecil B. DeMille Building, Unique Recording Studios was renowned for having the latest keyboards, drum machines, and samplers, and being on the cutting edge of the MIDI revolution. The facility was owned and operated by the husband and wife team, Joanne and Bobby Nathan.

Among the artists who recorded at Unique before it folded in 2004 were Madonna. Mariah Carey, Marilyn Manson, Arthur Baker, Stevie Nicks, Miles Davis, Al B. Sure!, New Edition, New Kids on the Block, Queen Latifah, Run–D.M.C., the Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Nas, Kanye West and Alicia Keys.

Among engineers that worked at Unique Recording Studios were Michael Finlayson, Chris Lord-Alge, Tom Lord-Alge, Tony Drootin Eric Lynch, Bob Rosa, Peter Robbins, Steve Peck, Roey Shamir, and Angela Piva.]

I recall Deborah Harry working at Unique Recording Studios.

That’s right and I worked with her. I worked on “French Kissin’ in the USA” for her “Rockbird” album (in 1986)

Celtic Frost worked there too.

Yes, and I worked with them too. I worked on “Vanity/Nemesis” in Berlin with Celtic Frost.

I know that you had worked with the New Order, The The, and the Young Gods. All around the same time?

Yes, it was around the same time when I was working at Unique Recording. The The came to Unique. I had built some skills there with programming and making sounds. I became almost obsessed with sounds, and because it was the beginning of MIDI we were working with a lot of sampling, and modifying sound. That was the new thing at the time. And also having it triggered by drum machines. I continued on working with European artists. I worked with The The, the Young Gods, That Petrol Emotion, and on “Vanity/Nemesis” (1990) from Celtic Frost. I also worked as a programmer on “World in Motion” from New Order (the band’s only #1 single in the UK).

In the 1950s, the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris had said that music is not only made of notes but it’s made of sound, and that the difference between noise and music is at the hand of the musician.

Exactly. I loved doing industrial music and the new and the birth of electronic music. It was the beginning of MIDI, as well trying samplers with keyboard and controllers.But that changed a lot in music because it was triggering and manipulating different sounds with different instruments. There were so many great artists that were coming through Unique that I learned a lot of techniques and sounds. It helps me today too.

What were your duties at the Unique Recording Studios?

I started as an assistant engineer. Then I became a programmer. Then I became an engineer. I was called on as an engineer/programmer for records in London, Germany, and Switzerland. I worked with (drummer/electronic musician/producer) Roli Mosimann, and also with the Young Gods, the young Swiss (post-industrial) band. I was called by producers to come to Europe to work on their recordings. Then I started my own studio in New York.

Did it have a name?

There was no name. It just my own small studio in my building.

With Roli Mosimann, you as Virus recorded the track “Dirt” for the compilation “Manhattan On The Rocks” project in 1992 for Pow Wow Records. Then you then had to find a band.

I had to start a band, yes. It was all programmed on machines, and we had to find a band for live performances. It was a great challenge.

With the band renamed Sulfur, you also recorded the "Water Song" and "Nova Sangre" with the intention of releasing a single.

It’s amazing that you know all these things because are no longer available online anymore.

David Ouimet of Motherhead Bug became your husband.

Yes, and he’s still my husband.

You teamed up with a trombonist/pianist? Didn’t your mother tell you that trombone players are trouble?

(Laughing) We were doing shows together as a double bill. He was playing with Motherhead Bug, and we were playing with Sulfur on the same bill.

You weren’t in Motherhead Bug?

I did play keyboards for a little while in Motherhead Bug.

Sulfur went through personnel changes, expanding to 7 members, before breaking up. The group only released that one full-length studio album. “Delirium Tremens”, in 1998.

That’s right. A lot of the members. That’s what happens with big bands.

The album was released by Golden Fly Records. Your label?

Yes, it was. We ended up also issuing some of the Motherhead Bug releases on digital as well. But it was a small label. I wanted to expand it, but we were distributed by Cargo (Cargo Records America) and Cargo went out of business (in 1998). That kind of made us stop because we pretty well sent most of our stock to Cargo.

At that point, you figured you had to get a job? That’s how you came to work at of the record label Putumayo World Music in 1999?

Exactly. I had to move onto something else.

As director of international at Putumayo, you had to deal with 70 counties, and some 50 independent distributors. Plus, Putumayo had some direct accounts with an office in Hilversum, outside Amsterdam.

Yes. We had an office in Amsterdam. It was mostly Europe and New York. We also had someone in Paris as well.

You were at Putumayo World Music for quite awhile.

I was there for five or six years. It was at a time that they were doing a lot of licenses for compilations. I don’t think that they sorted out digital ahead of time. So when it was time to release everything to digital, I think, that they had to probably go back and secure digital rights in digital songs which was difficult because these artists already had their albums online, and had signed on to services.

After Putumayo you opened your own consulting company?

I still am kind of working on that. Yes, I opened my own company to work with several clients. I worked with the World Music Network, and I worked with several other clients on projects as well. Then I got hired by the European Music Office. I was there for three years. It was a project that was funded by the European Commission. Basically, we coordinated all of the European music offices. We had 12 offices in Europe with one office in New York. Then they moved the New York office to Shanghai in China. That’s why I moved on.

What were your duties?

It was mostly developing markets in different countries. That’s where their priorities were. They had an office in Brussels (closed in 2013), and one in New York. Then they decided to open Shanghai.

That experience would have given you an overview that helped working with IODA (now The Orchard) dealing with global sales. It’s taken the music industry a long time to realize that music is a global industry.

Yes. That is what happened with IODA at first when I was acquiring international catalogs and distributing (music) online outside of the U.S. At Putumayo, my boss Dan Storper (founder and CEO of Putumayo World Music) was amazed by the amount of sales that we could generate internationally. That we were able to introduce CDs in foreign markets that were hungry for French and World Music. It was kind of an eye-opener for an American company that believed in international expansion.

Neither labels and artists in America back then were all that involved in developing international markets.

That is kind of my second passion. Working with different music from different territories in the world. It was, perhaps, jumping ahead of the whole global music attitude. That “international” is something that starts by developing international product locally at first into the different (international) territories.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record.

He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide.”

Larry is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry. He is a board member of the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia,, Ontario, and a consultant to the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta.

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