Honorary recipient of the 2017 Mark Awards Hall of Fame Award
Born in Rome in 1936, Romano Di Bari, at the age of 24 starts working for RCA Italiana, at the time the top record company of Italy and among the big ones in the world. From the very beginning Di Bari is given the responsibility of important departments of the company, reaching in a short time the level of Personal Assistant to the Managing Director, and eventually the level of Assistant Manager of the International Liaison Dept., in care of the international promotion of the publishing catalogue and of the roster of RCA artists.
At the beginning of 1966 Di Bari accepts the direction of Ariston Records in Milano. He spends almost two years in this position, then, finally, in May 1968, he returns to Rome to start his independent business: Canopo Music Publishing, shortly to become Flippermusic Publishing, to this day leader of Italian and international dealings in production music.
The years spent in RCA Italiana and Ariston Records had given Di Bari a solid base of experience in international publishing and had allowed him a complete understanding of the fact that in 1968, in the music business, then totally in the hands of the local and international majors, the only niche available for a new business venture was library music. At the time only a few French and English publishers (and a scant one or two Italians) were active in publishing background music, considering that this slice of the market could be expected to gain future importance in view of the development of commercial TV and connected film and advertising activities.
So it was from the very beginning that Canopo and, a little later, Flipper Publishing Companies began issuing 33rpm LP’s under the labels Canopo, Deneb, Flirt, Octopus and distributing them in accord with the rules Di Bari had become familiar with during his years in RCA.
The results of this line of growth showed rather quickly, allowing to overcome the problem of limited initial investments and the delay of 24 months with which SIAE, the Italian Copyright Society used to pay royalties. The success of the repertoire with the music supervisors of the Italian State TV and the increased request of library music for sync purposes in the developing field of TV commercials and documentaries, allowed Flippermusic to catch up, and in 1975 the company was issuing fifteen 33 rpm long playing albums per year, that would become twenty and more the following years.
The real change of the company took place in 1987 with the appearance of CD in the international market of discography. Di Bari understood the opportunity and the unique occasion to take advantage of this technology to gain new commercial space until then occupied by the majors with vinyl records. In that year only two CD manufacturing companies were active (and very expensive) in Europe: one in Holland, the other in Austria; Di Bari made a deal to press with the latter at very special prices. In the same time Di Bari created in Great Britain a new company, the Primrose Music Publishing to give an international opening to his new catalogue in order to reach with more effect the international market. After a careful selection in his existing vinyl repertoire, he started his CD catalogue of library music with an opening release of 30 CD’s, thus becoming the first in this branch of the production music market, beating on time the international companies that hadn’t realized yet the extra advantage that compact disc would represent for the future in production music.
The first presentation took place in Great Britain and was very successful. From there on, the Flippermusic catalogue has spread all over the world reaching today 39 countries where its repertoire is exploited. At the same time, to widen the choice of music and to increase the company’s position in the growing domestic market, Di Bari started to distribute and represent in Italy foreign libraries from all over the world with the purpose of supplying the domestic users with a generalist catalogue where all possible request of music could be satisfied.
Today Flippermusic owns a catalogue of about 20.000 original titles and releases seventy to eighty new albums each year with over 1000 new titles and represents more than 100 foreign libraries with over 400.000 titles in total to maintain a continuous flow of original music ideas to match the new requests of production music in domestic and international markets.
During the years Di Bari has always kept in mind the possibility to make production music accessible to the normal audience following the concept that music is music and there is no difference between production music and commercial music except lyrics. Instrumental music, normally used together with images, but also without them, has the power to generate in the human mind the same emotions created by a song with lyrics. Basing on this principle and using the streaming technology Di Bari has recently launched the label Extraball and the Emotional Music Collection, a site specialized in emotional music, or rather in music fit to underline human emotions. These compositions have been classified according to the 50 moods or feelings most common in human nature, with the purpose of helping people to live their emotions at their best accompanied by the music inspired by the mood of the moment. The site “The Emotional Music Collection.com” is helpful in selecting music compositions to suggest and accompany the soundtrack of everyday life.