[00:00:07] Speaker A: Hey, everybody, and welcome to the Music industry 360 podcast. I'm Vanessa. I'm Tariqa, and this is our first episode of the Music Industry 360 Podcast. So we just wanted to give you a little background information about why we're doing this, who we are, and we will go from there.
[00:00:23] Speaker B: Sounds good.
[00:00:24] Speaker C: All right, so the reason we're doing this podcast is basically to just give.
[00:00:28] Speaker A: Information and education about the music industry to record labels and artists out there because we don't want them to get taken advantage of. And that happens so much in the music industry. So we're just trying to get that knowledge out there about what we experience, what our artists have experienced, and just to help people spread their music.
[00:00:45] Speaker B: Basically, the music industry 360 Podcast is powered by symphonic distribution. Symphonic is a digital music distribution company. We help our artists to spread their music worldwide. We also offer a bunch of different services from sync licensing to monetization. Anything you can think of, we probably offer it.
[00:01:04] Speaker A: So we're like a one stop shop. Yeah, I hate that phrase, but really what it is.
So, just a little background information about your host. My name is Vanessa. I'm a creative designer with symphonic distribution. My main hobbies are collecting anything. Sailor Moon going to conventions because I'm a big comic book nerd. And I love my cats. But yes, I also love video. On a little side note, but more Sailor Moon and cats.
[00:01:32] Speaker B: I'm Tariqa, the Digital Marketing Coordinator here at Symphonic, and I love anything that has to do with Kanye West. I'm probably going to get a lot of flak for that, but I love his music, I love his design work. Like anything, I think he's a genius when it comes to just anything creative.
[00:01:48] Speaker A: So now that we got all that boring background information out there for you, let's bring on our first guest. Our first guest is our president and CEO, Jorge Brea. And he's going to be talking about how to sell your music online and how digital distribution works.
[00:02:16] Speaker C: And we're back. And we're welcoming our CEO, Jorge Brea.
[00:02:20] Speaker D: Hello. Hello. How are you doing? Good.
[00:02:22] Speaker C: Welcome to our humble abode.
[00:02:23] Speaker D: This is a nice labode. I must say. I feel very cozy in here.
[00:02:27] Speaker C: You good? You want any coffee?
[00:02:29] Speaker D: I'm good. I have my water and I'm ready to be grilled like Barbara Walters, so bring it on.
[00:02:34] Speaker C: Oh, I'm so flattered. Barbara Walters.
All right, so first question, Jorge. I feel like we're on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
[00:02:41] Speaker D: That's right. Except there's no money on this show. What's the deal?
[00:02:44] Speaker C: Except for people who want to make money with their music?
[00:02:47] Speaker D: Nice. There you go. Good recovery. I like that.
[00:02:51] Speaker C: All right, so tell us, what does digital distribution mean?
[00:02:55] Speaker D: Digital distribution essentially means if you're a musician, let's say somebody that's in a band or a rapper, a DJ, producer, if you want to get your music out there, you'll come to a company like Symphonic to get your music delivered to Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, et cetera. So it's different from the traditional distribution that everybody may know, like CDs and so forth, where you have to get your song or single album placed on a store and so forth. This is all digital, you don't need any physical product whatsoever. So essentially with us, if you log on to our website and you register, you get access to a platform. And that platform allows you to have one centralized place to upload your material. Once you've done that, then our platform will go ahead and essentially translate it to all the different formats that a Spotify, Pandora, itunes may need it in without you having to worry about putting it in each individual format. That's why artists and musicians really do need a company like us in order to really distribute their material, otherwise they would have to learn coding and all these different techniques to actually get their music out there.
[00:04:04] Speaker C: So an artist that's just starting out, they can't technically just go to itunes and just say, hey, here's my single, check it out.
[00:04:11] Speaker D: Correct? Yeah. The itunes, the Spotify's, all those companies in the world, they're going to say to you, artists like this sounds great, we look forward to having it on. But we would much rather you go with a company like Symphonic to get your music delivered into our platform.
[00:04:24] Speaker E: So what was the driving factor for you to open your own distribution company?
[00:04:28] Speaker D: Yeah, so back a million years ago now, I used to be a musician as well, used to be a producer, and I always wanted to get my music out there, but I didn't have the money to press CDs or vinyl or anything like that. And this was right around the time that itunes had really just kind of launched and began. And another store by the name of Beatport also launched and began, but it was really specific towards the electronic music community. So music made for DJs, electronic house breaks, et cetera. So I would produce music, I would want to get it out there and I just didn't have the money. So I went ahead and thought I could probably just create a digital record label where I wouldn't have to spend the money and I'll just put it out on Beatport, itunes, et cetera. When I started to do that, people surprisingly bought some of my music. I don't know who they are, but thank you. And that kind of led to me wanting to help other musicians, record labels that I was working with kind of move away from the physical because it was so expensive to maintain, especially when record sales were in the decline mode because of downloads thriving and anti piracy being very popular at the time, unfortunately. So that's kind of like what really led me to start Symphonic is to try to help the community out as much as I could.
[00:05:46] Speaker C: What do you think about how now records are actually making a comeback? Like, how is that going to compete with digital distribution?
[00:05:54] Speaker D: Well, what's kind of cool about that? I mean, I collect a lot of vinyl, but what's really, really growing in that market is like Rolling Stones, Beatles, or a lot of independent releases like Kanye, which I know Tariqa, you're a big fan of. Yes. All these different major artists are doing the vinyl route because there's a nostalgia factor and people really are buying vinyl sort of because it's like the new coffee table book. So they're buying it, but they're not necessarily listening to it. And it's kind of weird because 1015 years ago, vinyl was pretty much dead and now it's essentially like the second format that is most consumed behind streaming with downloads now going down into the third spot. So I think that it won't really affect the independent music community because it's really hard for independents to sell vinyl. I just think it'll be something that's kind of cool for a new generation to enjoy and listen to. And if anything, it'll really help the decline in CDs and download sales.
[00:06:52] Speaker A: What is the craziest question that an.
[00:06:54] Speaker C: Artist has asked in regards to distribution?
[00:06:56] Speaker D: You know what, there's probably a lot we probably get a lot of crazy voice messages too, or phone calls. But we did have one that I thought was really interesting. We actually did receive a phone call once from someone in jail asking us to pay them as their bail so they could get out of jail. That was a while ago, so no worries, you ladies are safe. But that was pretty much the craziest thing that I've ever encountered. And there's been a lot so you can't please everybody was an artist. Yeah, I can't really say his name, but for good reasons. Right, but that was pretty wild. For sure.
[00:07:36] Speaker E: Okay, so what should artists look for when choosing a digital distributor?
[00:07:40] Speaker D: In my opinion, I think every artist or record label should really see how big the organization is. So what I tend to see a lot is because there's an oversaturation of music, there's now become an oversaturation of the music distribution business. I see a lot of sort of kind of like label groups or distribution companies that really make themselves look like they're really big and established, but really are just bedroom distribution companies.
And these distribution companies will actually work with other distributors to get their music out there. So an artist will then have two middlemen to walk through. So I think it's important for some artist or record label to really vet the size of a distribution company. I also think it's cool for them to check out reviews. There's a lot of things online that are said about distributors. A lot of comparison charts that people can read. So there's a lot of info that's already freely available online. Other than that, what's their location? Because that makes it easier for you to be able to communicate with them from a time zone perspective, perhaps even a language perspective. And can they really kind of maximize your potential with other tools outside of just traditional distribution? Nowadays, we as a company have had to kind of diversify and get into various different sort of service offerings just to retain clients, but also to add as much value as we can. And I think that every distribution company now has to kind of do that just to keep people pleased.
[00:09:05] Speaker C: Yeah. Tariq and I actually mentioned how we are a one stop shop, and we hate that phrase, but it really does apply. I don't know what else we could refer to, but there's a lot of different services that we now offer that helps us compete.
[00:09:18] Speaker D: Yeah, definitely. No, I think that's been kind of the cool thing, too. It's all kind of grown because of the team members that we've had, you know what I mean? Vanessa, she's a tremendous worker from a video distro standpoint. She's very modest about it in her intro, but she does a lot of videos, and Tariqa herself gives a lot of feedback and advice from an editorial standpoint and social media. So all these different things that we do have really just kind of evolved over time with the team members as well. So it's really cool.
[00:09:46] Speaker C: Tariq and I over here blushing.
[00:09:50] Speaker E: Do artists get to keep control of their identity in music when they sign up with a digital distributor?
[00:09:56] Speaker D: Yeah, so in most cases they do. I mean, I can really speak a lot for ourselves.
Whenever you distribute your music, we don't own the material. We're just kind of like the delivery platform for it. Depending on the deal that you have, we may make a percentage on the royalties, but other than that, it's your identity, it's your name that's out there. And in some cases, like a platform, like a beatport, not every artist can have their own label name or their own artist name written on the copyright and publishing fields. So that's where we put our name symphonic, just so that way we don't have to go through an approval process for an artist just to get them on. But other than that, it's their artist's name and it's their representation online. We try our very best not to censor, and anytime that we've had to censor it's because of improper material or improper messages, that is something that we ourselves don't want to affiliate ourselves with.
[00:10:48] Speaker C: You said something about delivery, and it made me think of, like, a paper boy. All the papers is like music, and then the houses are the different platforms, and so we're the delivery boy, basically, and we're delivering your music definitely different.
[00:11:03] Speaker D: No. And you don't even have to edit that out, actually. You know what I mean? That's absolutely the truth. I mean, everybody comes to us because it's one centralized kind of like database, one method that you have to learn, so to speak, to get your music out there. If you were an artist, you'd have to really learn about 300 plus different methods, and not every artist is a computer programmer. So that's one of the reasons why it's good to have us on your side.
[00:11:29] Speaker C: Definitely.
So how can a digital distributor help artists to sell their tracks?
[00:11:34] Speaker D: Well, the first thing that we can do is we get it to the markets easier than you would if you had to go through it individually. But the other thing is that we have a lot of good relationships with all these different providers that not every artist, especially a new artist, may have when they're coming in. So we're able to pick up the phone, talk to Know for the US, and then talk to Spotify for Canada or Australia and try to work different relationships and kind of get different opportunities that may be available that aren't always open for each and every independent artist. So we're not only a delivery mechanism, but we're also a relationship builder for your behalf. I think most distribution companies, even aside of us, have that as a great specialty as well. So I'd say those are two big things that we and other companies do to help musicians for sure.
[00:12:22] Speaker E: What exactly is a DSP? And are artists guaranteed to be on every partner that's available?
[00:12:27] Speaker D: So, it's a good question. A DSP stands for Digital Service Provider. We sometimes use the term stores or retail partners, but really all of them as a whole are called digital service providers. And artists can pretty much be guaranteed to be on Apple Music, itunes and Spotify. But then there's a few, like beatport track source juno These are like boutique electronic stores, so they're not going to accept all genres or even sometimes hip hop. So if you're a hip hop artist and you're wanting to be on a Beatport or Track Source, it may not happen unless it fits their criteria. So I would say that you have good chances of being on most, but there's a few that may limit you for sure.
[00:13:09] Speaker C: I definitely have learned recently with music videos that itunes especially is very particular about the content, about the quality.
And if you submit a music video that doesn't meet their quality, even though it meets their size guidelines, they still have every right to not place it on their platform. Because they're trying to sell it, and it's because they're selling the music video versus streaming.
You're earning through the streaming, but with itunes, they want to make it sellable. So on their team, if someone decides that that content is not sellable, they cannot place it. But that is something to keep in mind when you're creating music or creating music videos to make it high quality.
[00:13:48] Speaker D: Definitely. And the same thing we see obviously on the music side. So the way that we've done things on our end and our system is we've placed a lot of rules. So if you're entering like a release name, we may add single or EP. All of those are itunes specific requirements. And yes, they're like the industry leader from a style guide perspective, which I think is really great. I mean, over the years they've done even more and more to improve their style guide. And while it creates frustration sometimes from an artist standpoint, because they may want their name fully capitalized, or they may want artist name and artist name and that may not be allowed, it is for a good reason. They want their products or they want products represented on their platform really, really positively. And it's our job to enforce what their style guide says. But yeah, we have seen a few releases denied. It depends on the subject matter. We're all about free speech and not censoring, but if the subject matter is a little bit too sensitive given current events and so forth, then obviously it can be denied at times.
[00:14:53] Speaker C: All right, so what are the biggest benefits of working with a distributor?
[00:14:57] Speaker D: Yes, so the biggest one, and I continue to go to it, is you don't need to learn how to code, you don't need to learn all these different specifications.
A lot of people may not know, but to get music delivered you have to use metadata. And that's an XML file, it's kind of like an HTML file that pieces website together. And every single provider has a very different method of how they categorize their metadata. So for an artist to have to learn that is quite a time consuming process and it takes away from the art form of producing. It's also just easier. Obviously you're just signing on, you're just dealing with one partner rather than dealing with 300 partners. Just getting your music out there is challenging if you were to do it yourself. But marketing it and trying to get it featured in all the different providers is obviously tough. And really what I think that we can provide the best is a lot of knowledge, guidance and support. Like I mentioned earlier, we do a lot on our blog, social media and even our website to try to give as much knowledge as possible, hopefully this podcast as well, just to try to help out as much. And I think you can't just get that on your own as an independent artist.
[00:16:04] Speaker C: Yes. Just to reiterate, people don't give us a wave file and then we in turn just deliver it. No, there is a much more in depth process.
[00:16:13] Speaker D: Yes, there's a lot of encoding. Our tech guys, they don't get a lot of sleep, but it's all for a good cause.
[00:16:21] Speaker E: So for all of the artists that are listening, what are some tips that you would give some who are established and who are just starting out.
[00:16:27] Speaker D: I think there's a good parallel between new artists and also established ones. I think every independent one that's out there now essentially really has to do a lot of work. You almost have to be like your own team, but be consistent in terms of your releases. So put out product at least like once a quarter, whether it be singles or EPS. Albums are good, but they can take a long time to produce. So I always tell folks, just stick to small wins and small releases, because the more that you can put out there in a year, I think the better. Obviously have solid social media, and it doesn't even have to be super duper complicated, just something that is professional. I mean, I can't tell you how many times we've received CDs and business cards, and I go on their website to do research, and then nothing works. And I've even tried to email people, and I get one of these mailer failed notices. So treat it as close as possible to a business as possible. If you really want to make it in the music industry, no one's going to do it for you. You have to really bust your ass to actually get yourself out there, and you really want to be consistent and just kind of look the part as well as sound it. I mean, one other thing I always tell a few folks is have some humility.
Particularly honestly, in hip hop, I see a lot of talk about I have money and I'm this and that and this and that, and that's. Cool from an artist perspective, but from a personal perspective, be as humble as you possibly can, because it's going to take a long, hard road for you to be noticed. And no one owes anyone anything. We are a company that tries to represent as many artists as possible, so we want to help as many as we can, but we're a business as well, and we try to do what we can just to keep the lights on, so to speak. So I always tell people to just be really humble, have the right expectation. Don't come into the music industry thinking that you're going to know millions of dollars. Unfortunately, not to burst anybody's bubble, because it can take a long, long time for that to happen.
[00:18:28] Speaker E: Damn it.
[00:18:29] Speaker D: Yeah. That's right.
[00:18:30] Speaker C: There goes Tariqa's career.
[00:18:32] Speaker D: There's still a chance.
[00:18:34] Speaker C: All right, so a little fun question, jorge, who are you listening to right now? Do you get to listen? I mean, obviously not every single track we distribute, but do you get to listen to some of our recent music and recent releases?
[00:18:45] Speaker D: So every once in a while I do. I typically can check them out on Spotify, not to give a plug, obviously, but our playlists are pretty well curated, so I get a chance to really check them out there. I can actually spend some time checking out the tunes, but other than that, I mean, I like a lot of chill out music. I'm always listening to this artist called rival consoles. I just think that he or they I'm not sure if it's a band yet, but they just do music that I think has a lot of solid stuff to work to. That's very background music, but at the same time with a lot of emotion. So I'm a big fan of them.
[00:19:20] Speaker E: Okay, so that'll do it for our interview. Thanks for coming on, Jorge.
[00:19:23] Speaker D: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure. You guys were pretty nice to me, so I appreciate that today.
[00:19:30] Speaker A: And just wait till next time.
[00:19:32] Speaker D: That's right. Yeah. I'll be ready with full armored gear for the next slew of questions.
[00:19:37] Speaker A: You just made me think of, like.
[00:19:38] Speaker C: Game of thrones or something.
[00:19:39] Speaker D: Yeah, it's kind of like that every day, you know what I mean?
[00:19:42] Speaker A: In the music industry. Yeah, that's right.
And we're back. So, Tariqa, what upcoming events do we have coming up?
[00:19:59] Speaker B: We have the Tampa music conference happening on June 22. It's a great opportunity for local artists to network and basically learn anything that they don't know about the industry or learn more about what they know.
[00:20:12] Speaker A: And we actually will be there doing a little networking event, right?
[00:20:16] Speaker B: Yeah, we will. We're doing like a speed networking. So, like speed dating, but networking.
[00:20:22] Speaker A: So if you want to meet Tariqa and I, here's your chance.
So this is obviously in Tampa and on June 22, so hopefully we'll see you guys there.
[00:20:30] Speaker B: What music are you listening to right now?
[00:20:33] Speaker A: I'm actually listening to Muse's recent release called Dig down okay, which is basically a song about survival and fighting the ODS. It's an awesome music video as well. Like, they had this one long shot. I mean, I am a video person, so of course I'll focus on that. But a lot of longtime Muse fans are criticizing it, saying, like, it's not their regular stuff, but they need to realize that musicians, they need to be able to adapt and change. They can't put out the same song over and over again. So I like their new song.
[00:21:02] Speaker B: I definitely agree. They have to keep up with what's happening and trends and competitors.
[00:21:08] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm a big fan. I actually recently just saw them a couple weeks ago here in Tampa, and they were nice.
[00:21:14] Speaker B: Nice.
[00:21:15] Speaker A: So who are you listening to? Tariqa.
[00:21:17] Speaker B: So I have chance to rapper's album on repeat coloring book. I know it came out, like, forever ago now. Well, not forever ago, but late last year or early last year. I'm not sure. But I love him. He's an independent artist who's, like, killing it right now. And I'm also going to his concert, too, in June.
[00:21:37] Speaker A: Awesome.
[00:21:38] Speaker B: So I'm looking forward to that. Thanks for listening, guys. I'm Tariqa.
[00:21:42] Speaker A: And I'm Vanessa.
[00:21:43] Speaker B: We'll see you in the next podcast.
[00:21:45] Speaker E: See ya.