‘Mixed By Erry’ Ending, Explained: Is It Based On A True Story? What Happened To The Frattasio Brothers?


Directed by Sydney Sibilia, Mixed by Erry tells the story of an individual who had loads of talent but somehow fell on the wrong side of the legal system and ultimately had to pay for the consequences of his own actions. It is one of those stories where you vouched for the underdogs, wished for their success, and even tried to justify their not-so-fair means and methods. But in the end, you have to agree that nobody other than Erry himself was responsible for his downfall. It is true that Erry was denied a platform to showcase his talent, but violating the law time and again, even after fully understanding the implications of the same, could never be justified. So, let’s find out what really happened in Erry’s life, how he shot to fame, and what caused his downfall.

Spoilers Alert

Is It Based On A True Story? 

Mixed by Erry is based on the real-life story of Enrico “Erry” Frattasio and how he captured the entire Italian music market and amassed a lot of wealth through his illegal music label. Erry and his brothers were charged by the state for committing various crimes and sent to prison for four years and six months. They were well aware of the fact that they had committed an offense, but they kept going because maybe they believed that the law enforcement authorities would never be able to find even corroborating evidence to prove their guilt. Mixed by Erry never tells us who the real-life person on whom the character of Arturo Maria Barambani was based was, though, by the looks of it, it did seem like he was one of the influential players of the Italian music industry. We believe that the entire scene where Erry is told that Angelo had buried all their money beneath the tennis court did not happen in real life, and the director took creative liberty just to add some dark humor to the proceedings. The Frattasio brothers, upon their release from prison, took odd jobs that paid for their livelihood, and they were cut off from the music industry, though Erry sometimes performed as a DJ.

‘Mixed By Erry’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Erry and his two brothers, Peppe and Angelo, came from an underprivileged background where their father tried to make ends meet by selling fake alcohol. Peppe worked for the mafia, who smuggled cigarettes inside Naples, while Erry worked as a cleaner in a record store, but his exceptional talent for blending music caught the attention of the shopkeeper, Don Ferdinando. Erry realized that he was very good at music mixing, and he got proof of it when customers started pouring in not to buy the original cassettes but Erry’s mixed ones. The profession of disc jockey was not something that a common boy coming from a small town could pursue, but Erry still wanted to give it a shot. He went to Milan and visited many clubs, but he was turned down at every place. A manager in one of the clubs told him that he lacked “internationality,” and Erry got disheartened and completely lost confidence in himself. There was a stereotypical aura that the club managers used to look out for when selecting a DJ to play in their prime slots. They expected funky and extravagant guys who could hold the attention of the crowd with their personalities and their music. Erry came back to Forcella, and he gave up his dream of becoming a DJ. But fate had something else in store for him—something so big that even he hadn’t imagined it in his wildest dreams.

Angelo Frattasio was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities for assaulting a guy who was beating Erry. Around the same time, even Peppe ran out of work when the mafia under whom he worked was caught by a police officer named Fortunato Ricciardi. To make matters worse, even Don Ferdinando decided to sell his shop and enjoy his retirement. Erry decided that he would open his own record shop, copy music, create his own mix, and sell it to the people. At first, the idea seemed a bit impractical, but after a bit of market research, Erry, Peppe, and his wife, Francesca, found the technology that made it possible for them to copy music in a matter of minutes. Mixed by Erry cassettes sold more than the original ones, and within a matter of months, the Frattasio brothers had to open several laboratories and employ many people to cope with the huge demand. As a result, money started overflowing, and very soon, they started living that aspirational life they had always desired.

Why Were The Police After The Mixed By Erry Music Label?

The Frattasio brothers had placed an order of one billion lire for empty cassettes, and that caught the attention of Arturo Maria Barambani, who convinced them to take him on board as their only supplier. Arturo told the brothers the advantages of dealing with a single supplier, and they realized that by doing so, they increased their profits manifold. Arturo, together with the Frattasio brothers, made a lot of money. The problem was that what they were doing was legally prohibited, as they were clearly guilty of copyright infringement. But the thing was, the entire concept of intellectual property rights was not so developed at the time, and there was no regulating body that would specifically look into the matter. Erry knew that he was playing in the gray area, and as soon as the police got any sort of incriminating evidence and were able to put his acts inside the bracket of some law, they would be sent to prison. Their so-called laboratories had been raided by the police many times earlier, but they always managed to keep the business running.

But things got really serious in Mixed by Erry when the owners of the record labels decided to come together and wage a war against music piracy after bearing heavy losses. Arturo also attended this meeting, and he told Erry about it. Meanwhile, the Frattasio brothers had also found a way to copy music from the Compaq disc, and they believed that the police would never be able to put them behind bars. The police task force was led by the same Captain Ricciardi, who was once responsible for putting an end to the illegal trade of cigarettes in Naples. At this point in time, Erry was still very composed, as he knew that the police didn’t have anything to accuse them of, and he was making sure that he took every step with a lot of precaution. Ricciardi didn’t understand how Erry released the songs from the Sanremo music festival before the music labels started selling them. During the festival, the “Mixed by Erry” label released these songs before anybody else, and this was the most prominent reason why they had come under the radar of the law enforcement authorities in the first place.

‘Mixed By Erry’ Ending Explained: How Did The Police Convict The Frattasio Brothers?

Erry had realized that Captain Ricciardi was tapping his phones and also keeping track of his movements. He realized that he needed a decoy to distract them so that he could do his job without any interference and also show them that no matter how hard they tried, he would always be a step ahead of them. Erry wanted the police officers to know that he was going to the Sanremo music festival so that they could follow him there in the hope that they could find out who the mole was who gave Erry access to music. Erry went to the festival and made a call from a public booth on purpose. Captain Ricciardi tapped the phone and was disappointed to find out that he had made that call to his mother and not to the mole as expected. But the catch here was that there was no contact that Erry had inside the music festival. He had found a way to record the songs via television, and though the quality was not as good as copying them from a cassette or CD, they sold in the market just because the songs were available prior to the official release. But this victory was short-lived, and the end of Mixed by Erry made us privy to a betrayal that the brothers had never expected to happen. Arturo Maria Barambani, to save himself from being prosecuted by law, revealed all the details to the law enforcement authorities about the way Erry and his brothers conducted the business. From the purchase orders to the addresses of the laboratories where Erry made the music, everything came into the purview of the officials.

The court found the brothers guilty of criminal conspiracy, possession and smuggling of music tapes, counterfeiting, and many other charges, as a result of which they were sentenced to approximately four and a half years in prison. Angelo had hidden all their black money beneath a tennis court, and he believed that after they were released from the prisons, they would buy the court and take out their money. But towards the end of the film, we see that the brothers come to know about the plans of the government to change their currency and introduce the Euro. We never get to know what exactly happened to the money, though based on the timeline, we believe that they would have been able to get it.

Soon after their case, there were amendments made to the criminal justice system of Italy as there was a need for a regulatory body to be formed so that such cases might not happen in the future. That is when the Federation Against Music Piracy was created, and it kept a tab on the Intellectual Property Rights issues arising in the industry. As far as Erry is concerned, we believe that he didn’t do it just for the money. For him, it was always about following his passion, and in reality, if it hadn’t been for his brothers, he would have been fine with working in the record store and entertaining his customers with his amazing mixes. Because of the huge revenue Mixed by Erry cassettes were making, the brothers came into contact with a lot of people who just wanted to take advantage of Erry’s talent and didn’t mind crossing the line set by law. Erry could have found a legal way of doing what he did, and maybe he could have entered into a sort of agreement with the music labels. But he didn’t show any signs or intentions of rectifying his mistakes, even after he got to know what he was doing was against the law, and that became the reason for his downfall.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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