The Pacha cherries are known throughout the world and are synonymous with glamorous clubs where the finest DJs play for the most stunning crowds but what goes on behind the scenes to ensure the brand is one of the most recognised on the planet? Essentialibiza took a trip to the Pacha Recordings studio and merchandising warehouse in Ibiza to catch up with label head Steve Hulme to find out what goes into running a successful label and catering to the increasing demand for those iconic cherries…
What is recorded in this studio?
This is where every Pacha compilation that is released in Ibiza comes together and a lot of the ones that are released through our partners around the world, we do the mix and send it to them. We generally mix 60 to 75 percent of the Pacha compilations that are released anywhere in the world and occasionally we will make a track in here. The room is acoustically great, with the false floor and ceiling it is totally soundproofed. The software for recording and mixing the compilations is all inside this computer. It’s not like the studios of old where they had banks of equipment and a big mixing desk, people sometimes look at it and say, is that it but essentially everything that used to make a studio look like a studio is now contained inside the computer. The keyboard basically allows them to play any instrument and with any sound, push a button and you can play Jimmy Page’s electric guitar!
How is Pacha Recordings developing?
I was just told last week that we occupied the top five places of the sales chart for Ibiza. We had the whole of the top five selling albums on the island, before we would always have one or two in there but this year we had all five and that was amazing when you think of artists like Guetta, SHM and brands like Cocoon and Cream and Space and all the other brands out there releasing compilations. Every DJ and every label has got a CD out and for us to have all five in there is fantastic news; we’re definitely doing something right. Not only are we doing something right but it also proves a point that in these times, when people have got enough money to buy only one CD then they buy a CD that they’re going to trust and with a Pacha CD they trust in what it is. Now, that trust isn’t a given, it’s expected but over the last five years because we have delivered constantly the trust has been fulfilled, that given has been justified. If they buy a CD from another artist or another label, they’re not always sure what they’re going to get. If it’s an artist, he might be off on a tangent, they might not get what he plays in the club, same with clubs that let some random DJ do the track listing, it might not reflect the night that they had in there. We try to deliver good solid house that covers the darker side, the soulful side and the vocal, solid house side which you will get from warm up to peak time to the closing set in Pacha and that’s what our CD’s represent. Even if the tracks are not the big hits (we have some that are the big hits), a lot of the tracks that we have are underground records but they’re reflective of their moods. This also differentiates our CDs so that they are not the same as everyone else’s, we don’t have the same records on there as everyone else. We’ve also been number one in the i-tune sales in Germany, France, Italy and England. We’ve had 40 singles released digitally in the last year and done licensing deals in ten territories. Pacha Recordings has been touring throughout the world, we’ve done nearly 100 gigs this year, I don’t mean Pacha Ibiza, they do their own gigs, Pacha Recordings has done nearly 100 gigs this year, that’s also been very good for the label, so we’ve been really active. The best thing about doing the gigs is that we are normally asked for repeat business after the party, we have a 70 percent strike rate of gigs turning into residencies, which is gratifying.
How much has Pacha merchandising developed in recent years?
This is a very healthy business. The Pacha merchandising was only ever sold in Ibiza but we have just done a deal with River Island who will make a range of Pacha River Island shirts to go in their stores so that will expand us all across the UK. That’s the first step towards growing globally, before it was kept on the island because it was more of a boutique brand and they wanted people to come to Ibiza to buy their Pacha merchandise. They have since embraced e-commerce, you can now buy it online and that has proved to be very popular. I think there are seven shops in Ibiza now and there’s talk of expanding that even further. I’d like to see us have shops in other countries; there’s room for a Pacha shop in London, Milan and Amsterdam. Inside the Pacha clubs around the world there are mini boutiques but they’re not actual stores, any metropolitan capital can support a shop. The people that visit Ibiza are predominately made up of Spanish, British, German, Italians, French then you have the Russians and the Scandinavians. Right away you’ve got seven good territories, mainland Spain included, we could have a shop in Barcelona and Madrid for example. London and Leeds or Manchester easily, Berlin and Munich, Paris and Rome or Milan, we could have New York, this could happen, this has got to be the future for this business, to own or franchise shops in other countries, like they have franchise clubs. Everything in this warehouse will be sold by seasons end. The biggest selling item is the iconic cherry shirt. I don’t run the merchandising department, I run the record label, my thoughts on the merchandising growth and development are simply an observation and reflect my own thoughts, the management of merchandise have been running that show for a few years and I’m sure they have amazing plans for the future generally.
Does the merchandising sell itself or is there still a lot of thought going into marketing?
It markets itself constantly through what’s going on in the club, all the billboards that carry the icon and the adverts in the magazines that carry the icon are basically all selling the cherry icon, whether it be on a CD or a T-shirt or whatever. I think most sales in Ibiza are impulse sales, for the CDs for example, people don’t go to Ibiza and say lets go record shopping today, a small percentage might but most people are walking round the town and might decide to buy a CD because its easy. The biggest selling time in the Pacha shop down town is actually between 11pm and 1am. People have been for dinner and had a drink and think lets buy a T-shirt and it’s not particularly the people that are going to the club, it’s general tourists that might have been to the club but they’re here on holiday and off to the beach with the family and who want to take a memento back of Ibiza and the easiest thing to take back is a T-shirt or a CD.