Ameritz is a recording and publishing company based in Warrington. Over time, the company has moved from the mighty cassette tape to easy digital streaming, as well as growing its catalogue from a mere 300 recordings in 1998 to over 400,000.
With years of success behind it, Ameritz is now turning heads within the broader music industry. We sat down with Director of Ameritz, David Green to find out more about the company.
Can you tell us a bit about Ameritz?
The umbrella term to describe us would be a record company, but we’re also a publishing company. We have a massive catalogue of music - some of which we own copywriting to an extent, others we own completely, and some we license from other labels. As you’d expect, we record musicians and then release their tracks. We’re acquiring intellectual property basically, and once we have the rights we send them over to retailers.
How has Ameritz and the work that you do changed over time?
It’s a bit strange these days as Spotify is our main retailer. Instead of buying physical music products, people just listen to them now - mainly on their mobiles. Spotify have got 50 million tracks on their store so there’s much more availability now which is completely different to how it was before.
How did you get into the music business?
Probably like a lot of other people do, from originally being in a band. When I finished college, a friend of mine was doing something similar to Ameritz in Liverpool and when he moved on, he asked if I wanted to take over. I bought out the original owners and operated Liverpool from 1998. Between 2003 and 2005 I was slowly moving out of Liverpool and took an office with Bruntwood by myself.
You’ve expanded into a bigger office space, how has Ameritz expanded to warrant this?
It’s mainly due to the amount of music people are consuming from our catalogue. As numbers have grown, we’ve had to break down the data and look at pockets of interest in the catalogues. We realised that if we explore the individual styles more then we tend to get more people listening to the music. But, of course, that requires more personnel, so we now have more people dealing with different music imprints. We currently have 11 active imprints and 15 labelled under Ameritz. Sometimes because of personnel we just physically can’t keep up with it all so we have to put some to the side.
Is the music inside each genre expanding or have you expanded into more genres?
Both. Some of the genres are quite broad and we find that they can grow organically. What we tend to find over time is if we study the data hard enough, we find sub genres within that and get sprouts of new labels. We did a lot of relaxing background music for a while and realised that quite a lot of people wanted to hear Spanish acoustic guitar music, so we created a new label and took a new member of staff on to focus specifically on that. He works with local musicians in Liverpool to produce it all. Particular hot spots for Spotify are Spain and Spanish speaking countries which, as well as opening services in South America, would explain the popularity and demand for it.
Do you do all genres of music?
We offer pretty much everything, the only thing we’ve not dealt with is really heavy rock because it can be difficult to deal with politically. There are guidelines that we have to adhere to on certain stores since we’re dealing with the general public and when music gets very heavy like that it can get difficult to manage. There’s usually a very strict political message behind it.
What does the future hold for Ameritz?
I think it’s probably in diversifying the focus of the business from strictly being a record company to being more of an entertainment business. The most recent thing we’re doing is working with promoters in the north of England and putting on shows. I think particularly on the dance side, we’ll probably end up doing quite a lot of that as well as recordings.
Is dance a big thing at the minute?
Dance has been a consistently successful part of the music business for the past 20 years. It doesn’t seem to be a fad unlike other genres, and because of that consistency, the industry that surrounds the electronic dance music scene seems really settled now. Promoters are doing well, selling out bigger venues all the time and the records that we sell are selling consistently; whereas we've seen that some other genres have cut down really fast over the years.
Do you deal with the artists themselves on a face-to-face basis?
Not as much as I’d like to but I think because we have so many it’s difficult for me to keep an on-going conversation. I do go to some of the sessions we run, especially the orchestras. We produce twenty tracks a week and employ two big studios in the North almost on a weekly basis so there’s just not enough time to go to sessions and see what people are doing, but I do listen to the tracks. We have two members of staff who are the daily “go to” people within the business and they do a lot of great face-to-face work with artists.
Do you have a recorder and producer in the team or do you outsource it?
We generally self-produce. We give a brief to a group of musicians if we need a specific type of music producing. That brief is always very strict and is something I get heavily involved with. We employ musicians with very specific requirements so we don’t need on-site producers on these sessions because they do the sessions as we ask. If you tell an orchestra to perform a specific piece, they just do it. There’s no production involved, they literally go into the studio for three hours with sheet music, play it and go.
We do get people sending us demos but we don’t take people on like that. We’ve taken musicians in based on listening to what they’ve done previously, but we’ve never listened to something and thought “that’s really good, let’s re-record it”.
If Ameritz were a band, who would they be?
Transglobal Underground, if you want a specific answer. They work with us now, they’re a London collective of musicians and they deal within multiple “world music” styles, but what they actually produce is everything except western music. They’re working with some of the best world musicians on the face of the earth, doing festivals all over Europe and America. I think we have a lot in common with them because we’re obviously not geographically tied to a specific culture or country. We do everything from Indian karaoke, Hindi tracks, Russian music - pretty much anything we can see that there’s a general consensus that people like it.
So what are your plans for the future?
Ultimately to diversify. To not rely so solely on recording music revenue and to work alongside promoters. We’re also going to mix genres more. Through our own research in recording music we’ve noticed that certain styles of music can work well together. We’re mixing world music styles which are really interesting so we’re trying to do strange collaborations. I think that’s going to decompartmentalise the business into live and recording music.
What’s the strangest collaboration you think you could do?
I could do all sorts but I don’t suppose many people would want to listen to it!