Started a company, Repost Network, which is helping artists monetize their music on SoundCloud, then SoundCloud bought my company. Let's talk platform dependence! AMA.
Here's an interview I did with Indie Hackers if you want more info.
What do you see in the future for artists? Will artists always be dependent on big middlemen for distribution and discovery? Do you think great artists regularly go "undiscovered," and if so will that continue?
Please excuse the music industry rant...
It ultimately depends on what you want as an artist. Are you looking to be the next Beyonce? Or are you a lo-fi chill hip hop producer who just wants to build a solid monthly income and take music full time? Based on the vision, the type of gatekeepers or middlemen you will need will differ and have very different strategies. The beauty of where we are at in music is the cost of production and distribution have decreased exponentially since the 90s and now there is a 'middle class' of musicians.
Now to your gatekeeper comment. The music industry is (maybe intentionally) incredibly difficult to navigate. You practically need a law degree to understand where your royalties should come from and there are many industry gatekeepers that can make or break a career. If you are someone who is creative it's imperative that you get a good team around you which could be considered middle-men as they will take a %. What a middle man does however is changing and in my opinion the strength is moving towards management. You are starting to see more managers build more in house artist services like distribution, marketing, etc. and relying less on labels or publishers to do the heavy lifting. I think there will always be middlemen in music but who they are and what they offer is changing from a responsibility standpoint very very quickly. And I don't think Blockchain can boil the ocean and solve all problems.
As it relates to discovery, great artists constantly do go un-noticed as most good artists are not good at self promotion if they are independent. This is natural as more music hits more stores/platforms. A true bummer, but if you care more about independent artists and discovery of new good music try more lean forward listening experiences like SoundCloud as opposed to say Pandora which is very lean back and station oriented.
What T shirt size was the aquisition - S < 200K , M 100K - 1M, L > 1M
How did Soundcloud reach out? Or did you contact them?
Many of my users at Songbox have come to my platform specifically citing that "Soundcloud is rubbish" as their reason for using my service.
it should be noted though that I am targetting the more professional people and not the kids just looking for views and likes.
We had an existing contractual relationship with SoundCloud and were acting as a "distributor" to artists on their platform whereby we would clear/represent the rights of the artist to enable advertising or subscription monetization. That revenue would flow to us to then pay out to the artists we work with. We built a decent market share across SoundCloud so we were always in contact with SoundCloud.
Congrats! I'm curious if you can divulge a bit about the deal structure? Not asking for specific dollar amounts, but what percentage was upfront cash vs. rollover vs. earnout?
public information can be found here: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/soundcloud-revenues-soared-by-37-in-2019-and-its-just-posted-its-first-profitable-quarter/
"SoundCloud’s latest filing further reveals that it acquired 100% of Repost Network last June for €9.36m ($10.5m). (Update: A SoundCloud spokesperson has clarified that when you combine what the firm paid in cash plus an additional equity giveaway, the total consideration of the Repost deal was slightly higher, at approximately $15m.)"
Thanks for sharing, wow! Congrats again!
OH YEAH I remember this interview!
What was your MRR before acquisition?
Sorry I'm dumb, what does "mm" mean?
millions aka "M" technically mm is better https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/mm-millions/#:~:text=The Latin numeral M denotes,equals 1%2C000%2C000 (one million).
Jezuz christ! No wonder you never posted any updates in your timeline in IH! Keep it secret!
I'm kind of curious about the SoundCloud acquisition, actually — since it seemed inevitable a couple years ago that they'd either try to buy you or replace you. How much autonomy would you say you now have at Repost Network under SoundCloud? And have you been able to leverage SoundCloud's resources (e.g. marketing, internal tooling, etc.) to find and work with artists more effectively?
How many artists (approx.) are you working with on SoundCloud these days?
Of that total, what percentage of them are making, let's say, $15,000/year or more? (I'm pulling that specific number out of my ass, but I'm just generally angling for an idea of how feasible it is to make a living wage from music via SoundCloud.)
SC built distribution in-house after I proposed it to them and competed with us. They didn't quite have the DNA to pull it off. Then we came back to the table when a number of our competitors (Distrokid + Platoon) got investment from other music platforms (Spotify + Apple) in 2018. Regarding Autonomy, when it comes to acquisition and integration it's really important to not integrate for the sake of integrating. All integration points should have a 1+1=5 methodology otherwise you introduce a lot of risk of wasting people's time for lackluster rewards. That said SC is the worlds largest independent artist funnel and we are a company who helps to monetize artist's creative works so we have touch points within the SC app to drive creators to our monetization and distribution service. All in all i'd say we have preserved a lot of our autonomy!
100k+ creators are working directly with SC/Repost directly now since we launched the at-scale version of our product last year. Prior to the acquisition we were invite only and serviced >10k artists/labels. Issue is not how many artists do we want to work with but moreso how do we scale ethically and not risk providing a sub-par product experience. We are very mindful of how many new customers we take on and learn more about what artists want the more downstream we go.
Unfortunately we haven't been public with that information so i'll have to decline to answer. Some reports have come out recently regarding how many artists make over say 50k on Spotify which might give you a sense of the market size here: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/how-many-artists-are-generating-more-than-50k-a-year-on-spotify-over-13000/