After the decline of the Italo Disco music due to the upcoming of house music in 1987/88, the Italian record labels started to change musical directions. A lot of labels focused on the huge Japanese market, we can see A.Beat-C Records (founded in 1990), Time Records, Flea Records, Asia Records and High Energy (founded in 1989) signing deals with Japanese record companies at the end of the 80s. The style now became known as Euro Beat, launching in Japan very successful CD compilation sequences called Super Euro Beat and That's Euro Beat. The average BPM went up to 130 or more but the melody stayed. Big Japanese companies like Avex, Alfa International and Pony Canyon invested a lot of money in the Eurobeat music style. Italian production teams like Farina/Crivellente, Giancarlo Pasquini/Alberto Contini, Sergio dall'Ora/Giacomo Maiolini/Laurent Gelmetti, Accatino/Rimonti, Leonardi/Moroni/Gelmetti and Severo Lombardoni produced hundreds of tracks in the period 1989 - 2000. But it all started to become booming in 1989 after the megahit "Boom Boom Dollar" by Farina/Crivellente under the name King Kong and the D.J.'ungle Girls. Different companies created labels especially for the Japanese market. Severo Lombardoni founded the Eurobeat label and High Energy Records, Ala Bianca with Flea Records changed style to strictly Euro Beat and Time Records with the team Gelmetti/Maiolini also dove into this new area. After more than 10 years a few production teams dominated the market: A. Beat-C, Time Records, Live Music, SCP Music, Delta and Boom Boom Beat were the labels that made the hits for the Japanese market after the year 2000, the other labels seized to exist. Just like all music, sales have gone down since the downloading era but the Super Eurobeat series still exists, reaching now volume 220 (2012).
Unfortunately the Eurobeat style with high BPM didn't appeal to the European audience, they were more into house music and the SAW era. On one hand you had rave and house music that were played at large house parties but in the charts you still had pop music. In the years 1988 - 1992 the UK trio Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW) had big success with acts like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Donna Summer, Mel & Kim, Dead or Alive, Rick Astley, Sonia and Banarama (and many more). Their style was pop music with a strong "dance feel" )(four-on-the-floor they called it in the UK). Italian labels for the Japanese market, like Asia Records and Stil Novo Records (label from Baldoni & Rosellini), were influenced with that kind of music but they only had success in the Far East. As we can read in the next chapter, the SAW- sound was replaced in 1992 by the upcoming of the Euro Dance style and that gave a new boost for the Italian labels and producers.
Other Italian Record labels focused on the USA, UK and European market with Italo House music. The Italians created their own style of house music based on piano riffs and pulsating beats and bass lines, using a lot of sampling techniques. Well known hits are the 49-ers - "Touch me", Black Box - "Ride on time", Double Dee - "Found love" and Secchi feat. Orlando Johnson -" Keep on jamming". The 49-ers i.e. had two number 1 hits in the USA dance charts with “Touch me" and "How longer", the Italians finally had their breakthrough in the USA, something which didn't succeed with the Italo Disco projects. Other labels like Italian Style Productions created a style based around a sample gimmick or sentence and filled it with some synth riffs, in 1993 this style evolved and blended with the Euro dance style. This "Italian Style Productions" music was very popular in Germany and Italy, a big hit from that time is Aladino - "Make it right now" with a sample of a Lime record as basis. The first housy records with the strong piano riffs and loungy feel were not called Italo House in Italy but it was called The Riveira Sound. This genre was named after the Adriatic Riveira (Rimini, Cattolica) where DJ's used to play this loungy house sound in the clubs.
Were those italo House artists or projects completely new? No, just artists and projects created by people who started with Italo Disco projects. The 49-ers is a project of Gianfranco Bortolotti, Black Box of Mirko Limoni and Valerio Semplici, Secchi of Stefano Secchi: all guys we've seen before on il Discotto, Memory Records, Many Records and other labels. The house music explosion gave birth to Italy's own baby called Italo house but it hardly left the basic principles because it was still danceable, melodic and often with a happy flavor, it just had a "house" twist to it. The Italo house style was quite successful outside Italy, i.e. Discomagic opened an UK and USA office. But after 3 years they had to close it down due to strong competition of the worldwide major labels who now also "discovered" house music or piano house. Meanwhile the world had grown to be a common market place so it was (more) easy to export to every country in the world from Italy, so all important companies had their branches set up in or near Milano, Italy's financial and commercial capital.
Did the Italo disco style died in 1988? We must say no! After 1988 there were still records made in the Italo Disco style. Good examples are Susanne Meals - "Forever" or Robert Camero - "Love games". But yes, there were not so many Italo Disco productions as in the years before. The melody was kept alive in the Euro Beat music and after some years it also came back in the rise of the Euro Dance style. In the next chapter we will see how melody made its come back.
The most influential record labels in the 1989 - 1992 period were X-Energy, Groove Groove Melody, Onizom and Discomagic and sublabels.
And for the Euro Beat style most influential were: A.Beat-C Records, Flea Records, Time Records, High Energy and Asia Records.