In the cluttered area of artist services now available via digital downloads, social networking, electronic marketing and even physical distribution, it can be confusing to choose who to pay to get your music out, and how much value you’ll receive. MondoTunes was created to streamline the options.
The company was co-founded in 2011 by Javan Mershad and his associates, who set out to create a service “by musicians, for musicians.” The primary service it offers is a vast international distribution system. Artists pay a one-time fee to have their single, EP, album or video distributed via MondoTunes, and artists retain 100 percent of their royalties and rights. MondoTunes distributes the recordings to more than 750 online retailers including iTunes and Amazon. The one-time fee (starting at $7.99 for a single, $37.99 for an LP) is a unique approach compared to other online distributers, which typically charge additional monthly or annual fees. MondoTunes also offers the option of creating your own label for $39.99.
“We bought stock in the idea that with technology these days, artists have so much material available,” says Mershad, “and don’t necessarily have the recording and rehearsal fees of a few years ago. This is a great, affordable way for artists to try out their music. We count on making a profit with repeat business.” According to Mershad, the company currently represents thousands of artist projects, from up-and-coming artists to established artists including former Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones and Jim Sonefeld of Hootie and the Blowfish.
Mershad’s background is as an artist, producer and writer who performed with a touring band for several years. “We never really broke,” he says. During that experience, however, he became more interested in the business and distribution side of the industry and decided to create an affordable, simple way for music to be distributed. “I developed many relationships with Amazon and others that artists can’t always approach directly.”
Based in Southern California, MondoTunes can offer such low fees by keeping its own overhead low. “We do everything in-house,” says Mershad, “with a staff of six that we plan to expand to 10.” The company has built a strong word-of-mouth business, in addition to repeat business. “We did a lot of research on the keywords musicians typically use when researching services, and we talked to a lot of musicians, and most of us involved with the company are musicians, so we know what artists are looking for.”
The company’s efforts to create a true “music service” extends to an available marketing package that includes creating and distributing press releases, electronic press kits, international blog posting and monitoring, and mastering services. MondoTunes also has relationships with music supervisors and clearinghouses seeking music for television and movies. Future plans include helping artists reclaim past royalties, and to expand their licensing and publishing services.
Clients represent all popular genres, including alternative, rock, pop, urban, country, children’s music and R&B. “We also offer the opportunity for artists to redistribute back catalog tracks. Some of our clients are established artists who no longer have record deals.”
The fees taken by the retail partners are the only fees from sales that the artist will not receive. Typically, a retail single download sells for 99 cents, with the retailer taking its (varying) percentage. The rest of the sale price goes to MondoTunes, where it is distributed to the artist on a quarterly basis, complete with detailed statements of sales. Mershad notes that artists often see more of a return on international sales. “We want to create a culture that truly serves the artist,” says Mershad. “The rest of it will fall into place.”
By Brett Bush