VELJKO DESPOT – Director of NEWEUROPE™ Music, Zagreb, Croatia
Veljko Despot is in charge of NEWEUROPE™ Music & Media Center or NEMEC in Zagreb, Croatia which makes selections of Croatian and other East European artists and their music and music videos including for NEWEUROPE™ Dance Sound to be played by NEWEUROPE™ Bands in the USA (currently in Florida only) for NEWEUROPE™ Shows. Many playback videos during a NEWEUROPE™ Show or a NEWEUROPE™ Party are original promo videos by artists from South Eastern Europe.
Also eventually after seeing the actual American consumer interest for these songs in English via NEWEUROPE™ Shows & Parties some of such NEWEUROPE™ Dance songs will be released in the USA under NEWEUROPE™ Music label in the United States also in English by the original artists or by NEWEUROPE™ Bands. Also such NEWEUROPE™ Music and Videos are promoted on NEWEUROPE™ Web Sites and will be played back at NEWEUROPE™ Light & Club Cafés & Night Club locations once such are opened (initially in Florida only).
Veljko is one of most renowned Record & Music Executives from Eastern Europe. Early in his career he was the first journalist from former Yugoslavia who specialized in covering international popular music. Veljko was the first East European journalist who has interviewed The Beatles. He is also co-founder and was on the board of editors of the "Pop Express" from Zagreb, one of the first music magazines in Yugoslavia, that reached a cult status.
In 1974, he started working with Jugoton and established and was the Head of the International Department for this biggest record label in then Yugoslavia. Jugoton, up to the beginning of nineties, had a license and exclusive deals with major international record companies, such as EMI, Warner Music, BMG, Decca, Island, Chrysalis, Virgin, Motown and many more, covering majority of best of international production in the record business. Jugoton was the only record company in this part of Eastern Europe which has been releasing for decades the international music, much thanks to Veljko Despot.
At age of 18 Veljko started his career in local press Plavi Vjesnik reporting from London on swinging sixties and trilling pop and rock scene. He was the first journalist from former Yugoslavia who specialized in covering international popular music. Veljko was the first East European journalist who has interviewed The Batles. This interview was published as one of his first articles, in "Plavi vjesnik" (April 17, 1967).
In late sixties he writes in "Plavi vjesnik", "Arena", "Studio" and “Vjesnik”. He had published interviews with many big artists such as Pink Floyd, The Hollies, Bee Gees, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Marc Bolan, etc. In 1967 Veljko signs a producer agreement with the biggest Yugoslav record label Jugoton, which was the first record producer agreement in Yugoslav recording industry.
Founded in 1968 in Zagreb the Jugoslavenski Beatles Fan Club/Yugoslav Beatles Fan Club, a branch of The Official Beatles Fan Club from Liverpool, covering most of East European countries. He is also co-founder and on the board of editors of the "Pop Express" from Zagreb (1969–1970), one of first music papers in Yugoslavia, a legendary magazine that soon reaches cult status. Since 1971 also contributes abroad such as New Musical Express.
Veljko had a rare privilege to attend recording sessions by some of the greatest rock artists and witnessed creation some of the most important albums ever in music history, like The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (London, 1967), Rolling Stones "Let It Bleed" (London, 1969), Pink Floyd "Ummagumma" (London, 1969) and Arsen Dedic "Homo volans" (Zagreb, 1973) and wrote about it.
From 1968 contributes as freelance on radio stations and since 1972 on the Croatian Radio Television. Throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties had numerous music reports on television, interviews, portraits and special programs, all concerning international popular music. Also a music director in TV drama. In the mid-seventies brings first music videos on Yugoslav television and in eighties introduces first music advertising on national TV.
In 1974, he starts working with Jugoton and establishes International Department for this biggest record company in Yugoslavia. Acquires major license deals for the company and works with some of the greatest labels in the world and their artists, managers and publishers, record company executives, for their product releases in the territory of former Yugoslavia.
Jugoton in seventies through eighties and up to beginning of nineties had license for majority of international repertoire and had exclusive deals with majors and many independent international record companies, such as EMI, Warner Music, BMG, Decca, Island, Chrysalis, Virgin, Motown and many more, covering majority of best international production in record business. This was the only record company in this part of Europe and all of Eastern Europe which has been releasing consecutive for decades international repertoire, much due to own mission by Veljko Despot.
He was also music editor on two most successful albums by most popular group in Yugoslavia ever Bijelo dugme, in 1975 for "Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu" and in 1976 for "Eto! Baš hocu". Both albums were recorded in Air Studios, London and produced by Neil Harrison. In 20 years of successful running International Division in Jugoton as a music editor and international director he managed to release in this part of Europe thousands of most important albums, singles and music videos in history of popular music, making doors wide open to pop and rock culture in Yugoslavia and East Europe.
At his post in record business he helped bringing to Yugoslavia and Croatia many important artists, like Deep Purple in 1975, The Rolling Stones (1976), Paul McCartney & Wings (1976), Queen (1979), Elton John (1984), Dire Straits (1985), Laurie Anderson (1990), Eros Ramazzotti (1990, 1994), Pet Shop Boys (1991), David Bowie (1990, 1996, 1997) and many more. For most of these artists it was their first visit in East Europe and a thrill for their fans who had first opportunity to see major international rock artists playing live.
In 1991 after Croatia became independent from old Yugoslavia, Jugoton became Croatia Records and he remained with the company until 1994. In 1994, he establishes and runs his own record company Koncept VD, a label exclusively representing BMG Music, MCA, Geffen Records and GRP Records repertoire in new states on territory of former Yugoslavia.
Veljko signs domestic artists as well - greatest Croatian singer-songwriter Arsen Dedic and big club attraction from Zagreb the Soul Fingers. Their albums on Koncept label won prestigious award Porin for best releases in Croatia. With his own record company he set in the nineties new standards for operations of such a label in Croatia and in 1998 he received a recognition from the Croatian government as one of top private entrepreneurs in Croatia.
In 1999, he created and runs since the Simbol Music, a consulting company that assists other artists and labels in being involved in the music business. In 2000 and 2001, he also runs the Cantus label (a record division of the Croatian Composers' Society, HDS). Signs for the label many big names in Croatian popular music (Toni Cetinski, Arsen Dedic, Goran Karan, Matija Dedic, Tamara Obrovac, etc.) and releases their albums, winning many new Porin awards again.
He is one of founding members of the Croatian Phonographic Association, HDU (established in 1995). Veljko is one of three founding members of Croatian music award Porin (established in 1993) for outstanding achievements in Croatian recording industry, an equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
Since 1993 Veljko is a member of The Recording Academy in the United States and since 2000 he is also a member of The Latin Recording Academy. In a year 2008 when The Recording Academy was celebrating 51 years of servicing the recording community he, as "the heart and soul of our organization", was honored "in appreciation and recognition of 15 years of membership in the Academy and supporting its education, advocacy and human services initiatives".
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