Among the most passionate people about music are those who work in the music industry: at labels, as press relation people, as concert promoters, as booking agents, as managers, as music critics, and so on. RREVERB proposes a series of interviews with passionate music artisans.

Today, we meet…

GINO OLIVIERI

PRESENTATION

What’s your name, what’s your role in the company you are presently working at, and since when are you working there?
My name is Gino Olivieri, and since we are 2 Gino’s here at Premier Muzik International, I am often referred to as ‘Big G’.  I am the President and founder of Premier and have been for about 30 years now.  I handle anything legal with licensing along with royalties, PR and pretty much anything in between

When have you started to work in the music business?
Now that’s an easy one, I started as a DJ back in 1976.  The reason I remember that so well is highly due to the Montreal Olympics and the fact that we only had 4 channels on TV which played like 24 hours of Olympics all day, all night… (did I mention there was nothing else to do?)

Nadia-Comaneci

At what age have you started to love music?
Hmm, playing drums with plastic bowling pins and upside down grocery boxes along with singing into a plastic bowling pin microphone when I was about 5 or 6 with my brothers.

When you were 20, what was your dream?
Geez I remember well that I was already living it, DJing parties and doing what I loved playing music for people all over.  I always wanted to create music too and perhaps work with some international stars as well (I accomplished that and am still proud of it after so many years).

Have you ever been a musician? Tell us about your career.
I can’t call myself a musician per se, more of a producer I would say.  Playing keyboards with 2 fingers would not qualify me to be a real musician, but I did sing my melodies so that my music partners could play what I sang.  However I did play percussion and drums for almost all my songs, but final mixing and editing was what I really loved to do. 

I was editing with blades & tape (the original way) on an editing block for all my songs, any many others’ productions too, I think I produced over 200 songs to date.  I was one of the first (if not the first) here in Montreal to have a digital editor on computer.  Funny enough I actually found the bill to that computer last year at a cost of $6300 for a 33meg computer (circa 1991)… todays smallest USB’s have like 10 times more memory than I had back then for about $5. 

I created the infamous “DJ Club Mix” compilation series back in 91-92 for a company called Numuzik along with PolyGram; which sold under 3 million units.  The DJ Club Mix series was probably my biggest achievement which paved the way for many of todays’ compilation mixed series.  Today we handle Neighboring Rights and administer royalties for nearly 1500 entities globally still going strong.  There is lots more, but kept it short and sweet, as I am sure you don’t have that many pages.

dj club mix

ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Do you live from it?
Yes I make my living as an administrator of royalties for Artists around the world.  Premier handles nearly 1500 performers, musicians, authors, composers, producers and labels globally and have been doing this heavily since 2000.  However as much as I would love to say it was all me, it’s not, it could not happen without the help of our Premier team, they are the best bunch of guys and girls one could ask for.  The hard working efforts of our team make Premier Muzik International, what it is.

Is it still possible to make a living with music today? What do you need to do to make ends meet?
Yes it is possible, it’s just trickier than it was yester-year.  More hours and more labor intensive work to get less than we would have 20 years ago.  It’s not news to say that the industry is ill, but always looking at the positive side of things, it’s still a great domain to be in and essentially Artists today have more than Artists had yesterday, as their careers are in their own hands.  Social media and internet marketing are tools that are there for ALL to use, so being internet savvy is must nowadays.  One can create a world craze if they know what they are doing, prompting major & indie labels to sign them.  Nothing in life nor in business is easy, so like anything, the harder one works, the better chances to achieve success is there for the taking.

Who did you meet in your musical path that was key to your development / success?
Now this one is a strange one… Giorgio Moroder was truly my inspiration to start this crazy path in the first place, with the release of ‘Nights In White Satin’, then the voice of Donna Summers, those fat keyboard sounds, them Disco grooves… I was hooked.  Getting back to the strange one, I always wanted to meet him, speak to him, shake his hand, but never dreamed I would, BUT as luck would have it, I did 2 years ago at the Amsterdam Dance Event. 

georgio moroder with gino olivieri

Giorgio Moroder, with Gino Olivieri

Whereas I was speaking on one panel, and he was speaking at another around the same time, I needed to meet him and did; we even spoke Italian together, so meeting my music idol after many years of my music path was strange but was (for me) essential in saying THANK YOU for all you have done for me.  A simple man with class, who never really placed much emphasis on his sound like I would have imagined.  He played synths, tweaked the synth nobs, and to him if it sounded good, bang there you go, it’s part of the final mix.  You got to love that.

What do you like about your current position?
That one is easy, getting Artists and performers their money.  Seeking and finding what would normally not flow their way and get it to them.  As much as we all love Artists and their music, they are better suited on stage, whereas we are better suited behind the curtains of that stage to work hard in getting them their royalties.

What would you change about the music business today
Hmm, good question, one of the biggest gripes I would say is music lovers stealing music, if I could change anything it would be to properly educate fans/kids/music lovers not to steal music.  They almost always think that Artists are rich and they can afford it, they won’t miss this download or shared file, etc.  They DO!  I can go on for hours here on this, but the reality is that even if you charged 5 cents for a download, please would still find a way to steal it.  So education on WHY it’s not good to do this is key top stopping the problem.

Which great personal goal have you not achieved yet?
Living on the beach… lol

ON ARTISTS AND MUSIC

What are your preferred music genres? Was it always the case through your life?
I am a 70’s kid, so disco, soft rock and funky soul r&b are my things.  Loved it when it came out, still love it today.

On a desert island you bring those 5 albums (no more!)
This one is REALLY really difficult and not fair either just 5 albums??? (I would need like 25 albums… lol), I like too many songs from each of these Artists, but if I must cut it down to one of their albums, here you go:
1)    Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
2)    The Police ‎– Zenyatta Mondatta / Reggatta De Blanc / Outlandos D’Amour
3)    Giorgio Moroder ‎– From Here To Eternity
4)    The Eagles – Hotel California
5)    Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

Playlist!


Who is the friendliest artist/music celebrity you’ve met?
Mickey Curry, drummer of Bryan Adams

Which brilliant artist should have made it big, but didn’t (yet)?
We represent quite a few and still believe they will make it big one day, one I can think of is a talented Montreal DJ/Singer named Sandy Duperval; another DJ duo called Paris & Simo; and finally another duo called Still Young.

Thank you Gino!

To follow Premier Muzik International’s activities, check our their website (click on logo below).

premier_muzik_logo

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.