Music distribution for Indian musicians is an area still under work. None of them are really betting against Bollywood. But the yearning to put out their music and find their audiences is primarily the goal every artist is chasing. While every label is hungry for big names and “finished products”, there are next to none who cater to unsigned music artists. After the successes handling sharks like Ed Shereen, Sam Smith, Stormzy, and many others across their offices worldwide, International Music Distribution company Ditto Music gear up for their Indian leg.
Music Plus engages in a frank conversation with Lee Parsons (Co-founder, Ditto Music) who promises to distribute music to hundreds of online stores helping independent artists put out their music and receive dues without selling out their rights.
Ten years ago, my brother and I were in a band. We got dropped by a label and were trying to work on how to sell our music. We realised there are 1% of artists who get signed to the label and 99% of people who make music. Back then it was madness as one could not put out music without a label. I tried to pay a label to put our music out there and they said no. So we thought, “What about the other section, those that don’t get signed to a label?,” which was huge ice – pouring and selling CDs. So we considered the demographics and how we can help them put out their music.
It took us 6 months to sort our label, to put our quotes together, to put out our music, and get it into physical shops. We realised that this is so hard to do! So we released our friend’s music. We said, “You keep 100% of the rights, 100% of the royalties, let us do all the office and administration work and we’ll put you out and spend like 10-20 pounds.” This was how Ditto Music was born.
The model all the way was, if you don’t have a record label, we’ll provide you what a record label does, but you keep the rights to your money. So we have 150k people round the world who subscribe so that they can put their music onto iTunes, Spotify. We also have a label division, so we work with around 10000-15000 artists on a percentage basis. So while a traditional record deal would be an 80-20 in the labels favour, our record deal would be an 80-20 in the artists favour, where an artist gets 80% back. But for that percentage, we have 20 offices around the world, we speak to Apple, Amazon, and Spotify so we put out music same way as a label would. This is briefly who we are.
How Ditto works
- Pricing for Music distribution – So you can upload limited music for 19 dollars per year, but for the Indian music it’s about 5-10 dollars a year, so if you make up to 50 songs and you have more than one artist it goes up to 50% of the price because then we become more of a label. It’s all like that and once you pay a set fee, you don’t have to keep paying, and you can upload. So its 19 dollars for 12 months for one artist.
- Understanding the chain of Music distribution (globally) – It’s very transparent. So an artist will upload a song on our chain and we will send it on the backend to all the stores, the stores will then collect and send that data back to us and we then send it to the artists and pay them . So it’s a very transparent blockchain and I think it’s what India needs today.
- The difference in distribution between songs by traditional Record Label, independent record labels and unsigned artist.
So for us we upload one or two songs for a label they upload 10000 songs, they have a lot of tracks, but there’s really no difference in distribution.
Plans for India?
We signed no music in India, but we have people working to find new talent. Whenever we go to a new country we try to find local talent and help them find success. We’ve done it last in Brazil, where we found two bands. We helped them internationally and from that, you can see I’m serious. We’re sending a proper officer, with proper people, to make it work. So if we have something in India that we know will work in another country, we can push it into that office, and we can work it out. That’s how the company works, every office meets once a week with their processes in place and we plan on how to take things forward. It wasn’t possible but now it is, so we may find the next Ed Sheeran in India!
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