A Diversity of Services
We have a video production studio in New York City to [create] content. We’ve signed artists, so we’re a label. We’re diversified, but people look at our website and say, “Oh, they’re just another CD Baby or TuneCore-type company.” That’s the interface we have right now and what we’re communicating. By the end of this year, we’re going to have a different experience, one that accommodates different types of customers. We also have non-music YouTube channels and our website does not communicate to them.
If somebody wants production support, we give it to them. ONErpm Studios is a separate company, and if you are part of our network and have a certain amount of subscribers, you can use our facilities for free. We’re basically copying the YouTube model within our network.
Options and Fan Access
We give options with how people want their music to be sold and released. Nowadays, we’re in the streaming game, so you don’t have much control over pricing. But on iTunes, we have flexibility. We have a store, which is successful in part because we offer free downloads in exchange for an email address.
Our goal is to get to a million fans sooner rather than later, because we want to do direct-to-fan marketing. With a release, we pitch it to iTunes,Spotify or anybody else who will feature it, but we also have fans we can direct market to.
Right now, we have 50 or 60 million paying streaming subscribers, but we need to get to 500 million. When we hit the 200 million number, the music industry is going to be sustainable and profitable, and hopefully not just for the labels.
We need to continue playing an active role in educating artists about being agents for change as opposed to waiting for somebody else to figure it out. People have the attitude that Spotify, Apple or YouTube need to do it. Well, we need to help them, because they’re the ones who are going to make us money and allow us to earn a living doing what we love.
Keep It Fresh
Put out content regularly, but not too regularly. Don’t flood the market, but don’t wait a year to put something out. Every three months or a couple times a year to make sure you have fresh content.
Services as Social Media
Think of Apple and Spotify as social media. If you’re building your audience on Facebook, but ignoring platforms that pay you, you’re making a mistake. Think about a multi-platform strategy and generate content for each.
Don’t think all platforms are alike. What’s appropriate for Apple Music? Spotify? YouTube? Have a strategy for each. Unify the strategy and have a consistent thread, but each one is different and you need to be an expert on them.
Be vocal about where you want the industry to go. Big artists are talking about things that will help them, but what they need or want is not necessarily what an up-and-coming artist needs or wants. What an established artist wants might hurt the up-and-coming. Be aware of everybody’s interests, because we need a way for the new generation of artists to succeed.
Don’t get accustomed to what you have. Always ask for more, because more could be done for your content and music. If you’re working with a distributor or label, don’t take what they say at face value, because the market is changing fast and there’s opportunity to do better and do more. Don’t let your routine cloud the fact that we’re in a constantly changing market. If you don’t see your partners changing, there’s a problem.
The big change is that real-time analytics and decision-making are going to be crucial. Have good data synthesized in a way that makes sense for people, so they can act upon it in real time.
The Credibility Gap
If streaming services are going to constantly push major label content, they’re going to lose credibility and their business will fail. They have to strike the right balance between promoting content that sells, but also ensure these services are sources of discovery, what they were intended to be. When these guys started, they were passionate about music. They can’t lose that soul.
Years with Company: 6
Clients: 35,000 labels and artists and 150,000 fans.