Note from BBT: Well, this is some very intriguing news. Throughout all of my reports that have to do with Brazilian music, I have always maintained that Brazil is a gold mine in terms of some of its music. If Portuguese was a language spoken by more people globally, Brazilian popular music would be a dominant force, no doubt. Again, I will state that while there is plenty of it that I love, there is also Brazilian music that I wouldn’t miss if I were to never hear it again.
Between August and December of 2012, shortly after having arrived in São Paulo to live, there were a few songs that I will always remember from that period. The first I’ve discussed in previous posts. The song ‘’Falar Mal de Mim’’ by the then MC Beyoncé would become the breakout hit of Brazilian music’s biggest artists of the past decade, Ludmilla.
As I wasn’t listening to Brazilian radio at the time, I was amazed that every day I walked into the streets in the north zone São Paulo neighborhood where I lived, I would hear this song blaring from so many car stereos. This was also the case of one of singer Thiaguinho’s songs. Around that same time, I remember my next-door neighbor blasting Thiaguinho’s first release as a solo artist so loud that it was impossible not to hear these songs.
Every single day around lunch time I would hear the familiar intro of the hit “Sou o Cara Pra Você”. After a week or so, the song was etched into my head. ‘’Dunt dunt dunt, dunt dunt dunt, dunt dunt dunt …Ahhhhhh’’. The song was recorded live and included the chanting and singing on the band as well as the audience. Again, I heard this song every…single…day…right around lunch time for what seemed like three months.
It’s a cool song even though I’ve never been a big fan of modern pagode music. Thiaguinho was a singer/songwriter that got his start in the pagode band Exaltasamba, for whom he sang between the years 2003 and 2012. Before that, Thiaguinho had appeared on the televised talent show Fama in 2020. After enjoying a successful decade in the band that also featured another singer that later earn solo success, Pericles, Thiaguinho decided to go solo. A move that turned out to be the right thing to do.
His first solo album Ousadia & Alegria, the singer reach platinum status, which in Brazil means selling only 80,000 copies of an album. The album also brought the artist a nomination for a Latin Grammy award in the category of Best Samba/Pagode Album.
Subsequent albums Outro Dia, Outra História of 2014, Hey, Mundo of 2015 and Só Vem of 2017 all sold well, earning gold, platinum and double platinum status in the case of Hey, Mundo, which sold in excess of 160,000 copies. Of course, in this age of the internet, one has to ask what it means sell well when everything is so readily available online.
Needless to say, with his track record of nine albums with Exaltasamba, seven as a solo artist, a number DVD releases, and television appearances, Thiaguinho’s name is well-known among Brazilian music fans.
Since some time in the 1980s, I’ve always been intrigued with what goes on in the music industry. The business aspect, music publishing, payola, scandals, etc. I don’t remember where I read this for this phrase for the first time, but after my research, I would understand it be true. The music business is 10 percent music and 90 percent business. With everything I had learned, I remember sharing some of this info with a musician friend of mine who was blown away by my discoveries. He had always been into music but had no idea how the industry really worked.
This is also true of many artists making a living in the industry. In some cases, singers appear to doing well, selling albums, touring, etc., but you come to discover that all is not well. Artists complain of low royalty payments, bad contracts and hidden expenses that often lead to them declaring themselves broke. People often wonder, how it’s possible for artists to sell millions of CDs and either being broke or just barely surviving.
The knowledge of the business is what separates the entrepreneurs who know how to make the most out of opportunities and those who know very little and end up being exploited and taken advantage of. If artists manage to carve out careers in which they make more than one hit record, if they don’t explore the business end of music, they also don’t access the true lucrative nature of the music business.
Back in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, a number of American hip hop artists got into the business of being entrepreneurs, becoming owners of their own record labels. Artists such as Eazy E, P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre come to mind. With their record labels and entries into other business ventures, the last three are all said to be close to billionaire status.
A few years ago, I remember reading an article online that questioned if the time had come for a black Brazilian billionaire. At the time, the idea still seemed a ways away from becoming a reality. In my mind, I thought there were a few people who I thought had the best chances of attaining billionaire status. The UOL news site also seemed to note how Thiaguinho was taking his place among successful black music moguls when it titled one of its recent articles ‘Thiaguinho will be the Brazilian Jay-Z’.
One was high-paid athlete Neymar, whose earns tens of millions of reais every year. One of the top players in European football, Neymar earns his salary in euros, which is currently worth more than six Brazilian reais. Thiaguinho and the soccer star have been friends for a number of years.
With Brazil being a country in which the beauty industry is so strong, the second person I could see becoming a black Brazilian billionaire is Zica Assis, the founder of the Beleza Natural beauty salon. Although I am familiar with the singer Thiaguinho, I had no idea of the power moves the singer has been making behind the scenes. Following the examples of the aforementioned American music moguls, the artist-entrepreneur could also actually reach the coveted billionaire status, if he hasn’t already.
Thiaguinho makes R$ 2 billion as an entrepreneur, says Forbes
Courtesy of UOL
According to Forbes magazine, 38-year-old singer Thiaguinho makes BRL $2 billion a year with his company Paz & Bem. Created in 2009 only as a publishing house to manage the artist’s works and music, the company has also become the record company and the place that manages Thiaguinho’s career.
”I was very young at the time of the group [Exaltasamba], I didn’t have the knowledge of everything that was happening in the music market and even today I seek knowledge, because it is a very broad universe. [Taking care of my own career] was a great opportunity to grow as an artist in all senses. Not only musically, but also as a manager – and to understand everything that involves a career” – Thiaguinho
In April, after officially breaking his contract with the Som Livre label, the singer invested BRL 52 million to expand his company and became the owner of his own record label, which has already been responsible for the release of his new record, the second part of his “Infinito” project, in July.
Thiaguinho revealed that, although at the moment the record company is focused only on his own work, he does not rule out acting with other artists in the future.
“Everything will depend on its growth, but it would be an honor. I am a very curious guy in this sense of looking for new artists and composers,” he said.
Nowadays, Paz & Bem has 210 employees and an indirect impact on about four thousand people. The singer said that there were no layoffs during the pandemic and that all salaries were maintained.
”We have always been very organized financially; we have always been concerned about the cash flow so that it could provide security in case something happened to me. We managed not to send anyone away from our team, and this makes me very happy. I really value the people who help me to be who I am and to be able to do what I love.” – Thiaguinho
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