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How This Record Label Is Building a Community Of Millions And why It Matters The story of how Cafe De Anatolia was built from scratch by the founders Nickarth, Monika Ilieva, and Billy Esteban; and is now reviving the global music business

By Lakshay Jain

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With an aim to gather the best artists in the genre of organic house and share them with its dedicated and expansive audience, Cafe De Anatolia is disrupting the industry with its dedicated focus on building a community, fostering global partnerships, and personally connecting with the audience. Cafe De Anatolia is a leading international brand holding millions of subscribers, ample international brand collaborations, and possessing over 15 YouTube channels, 8 of which have been honored with the Silver YouTube Creator Award (for 100 000 subscribers). It was founded on May 16, 2017, by Nikola Iliev (aka Nickarth & Rialians On Earth), Zoran Iliev (aka Billy Esteban), and Monika Ilieva. In just 5 years, this European powerhouse has set whole new standards for entertainment on a global level. It is a record label that coincides with a music production company that manages illustrious international artists. Cafe De Anatolia enjoys a global reputation for exceptional electronic music ranging from Chillout, Lounge, Organic House, Electronica, and Organic Downtempo with an oriental twist. To date, Cafe De Anatolia has founded 400+ compilations, albums, singles, and Eps. Not just that, it also believes in building up the community and has supported over 350 exclusive artists as a move towards introducing progressive music reformations.

Intertwining lost ethnic sounds and ancient instruments with 21st-century electronic vibes, Cafe De Anatolia has become a fast-rising record label sensation that has both influenced positive disruptive industry change and empowered hundreds of established/budding artists across the electronic spectrum to instill their lasting marks.

The ripples created by this brand have reached music connoisseurs worldwide. Having featured articles in platforms like Gulf News, US Times Now, Celeb Mix, and The Jerusalem Post; the finest names from across the world have reached out for collaborations. The exclusive track "'Il Mattino'' by Anis Karek released by Cafe De Anatolia was part of the Spring/Summer Women Collection 2022 by Giorgio Armani Fashion Show held in September 2021. Building on the network, Cafe De Anatolia has been fostering partnerships in giving exclusive music to premium hotels. Artists from Cafe De Anatolia Artists Agency recently performed at Djerba Music Land Festival through a partnership with Radisson Blu Hotels. Cafe De Anatolia Artists also performed in the renowned EtoEthno Festival in Russia. Expanding to different divisions, Cafe De Anatolia released a compilation titled Halk Cafe as part of the promo campaign of Halk Bank. They attended the Malmo Music Conference where they talked about building a profitable fanbase focusing on YouTube as well.

In just a few short years, the innate passion and talent took the independent brand as a collective from a stirred vision to a famed asset developing authentic sounds that go beyond just the ears and resonate across the world map. This inventory of rapid progressions, along with their endorsed reputation for positioning artists to achieve new levels of success, is what led Cafe De Anatolia to become the distinguished asset it is today – one with a core mission to optimize artist potential, compose powerful pieces that withstand the tests of time, and to continuously advance the entire music industry as a whole.

The pandemic was a testing phase for the entertainment industry and Cafe De Anatolia was one of the ones who were hit in the face. After the first lockdown, all their events were canceled for 2020. A festival scheduled for the end of May which had generated quite a buzz had to be called off as well. It was supposed to host the resident artists of CDA and one mega star DJ. Their plan of touring the MENA countries also had to take a blow.

However, the team showed excellent resolution on the strategy to "Adapt and survive". "It was a tough time for us as a record company but also was an opportunity to grow and work on our online community. " - said Monika Ilieva (CEO & Founder of Cafe De Anatolia).

Turning the tide in one's favor is an essential trait of entrepreneurs. "2021 was different but we still focused more on our online branding and community. We managed to have an upload every single day for the whole year and we still keep doing this." - says Nickarth. They planned to shoot for the moon and started investing all in digital assets and digital creators. They built up their team and strengthened the brand image. They built on their presence on Facebook and Instagram as well. Abundant content was released by the motivated and energized team, which brought in an immense climb in the streaming and viewing of their content online. The audience started building a connection and the brand started setting their name in stone." They observed that increasing the work gave a parallel increase in results. As a result of the hard work, they gained over 1 000 000 fans on all platforms. During the two years of the pandemic, they scored about 2.5 billion views only on their YouTube Channels!

Talking about the HALK collaboration, Nickarth (Cofounder/CEO of Cafe De Anatolia) says "I am glad that we made an astonishing connection that survived in these bad times. We will definitely collaborate and make this album a tradition. Those two years the label became a huge success, so even though we did encounter some difficulties, which I believe most of the companies did, on the other side we managed to find another solution for our brand, which is focusing on our social media and development of the brand image and how our listeners see us. Our goal was to connect with them on a deeper and more personal level and position ourselves as a or rather as friend than a distant company that is always there for them especially in these difficult times with providing great music on a daily basis."

Since then Cafe De Anatolia signed great artists such as Rodrigo Gallardo, Zuma Dionys, Armen Miran, Felix Raphael, NU [Fabian Laumer] , the famous Lebanese duo - Jad Halal as DJ and Andre Soueid as a performer, the greek duo Christos Papadopoulos and Dim Angelo, HVMZA, Omeria, Mel7em with two stunning sets from Lebanon, Jerry Spoon, Dennis Allen, Andre Rizo with "Prophet Collection's" mind Manuel Defil, DJ Brahms from Italy, RAJA, Ghenwa Nemnom with the fantastic set that has over 3.5 million now on YouTube, Ivailo Blagoev and Stone Submarines, Timboletti, Just Emma, Ykonosh, Gentleman, IV-IN, Husa & Zeyada, Arabic DJ, Ethno World, Stephane Salerno and the residents such as Rialians On Earth, Billy Esteban, Nora Projekt, Ali Baba, Jad Halal, Tebra, Desertum, Special K, Boudi Hamad.

Lakshay Jain

Tech Entrepreneur and Business Consultant

Founder and CEO of Mevrex, Lakshay Jain is a young tech entrepreneur who stays on the edge of latest technologies and web development practices. He has mentored over 60 businesses and consulted them into achieving coherent data-driven success.

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