The Citizen (Gauteng)

TALKING ABOUT... Artists spin their power over record labels


Independen­t music distributo­r DistroKid has announced that it adds more than 35 000 new songs to its platform every day. That’s over a million every month.

By comparison, Spotify revealed in February that more than 60 000 new tracks join its catalogue daily. At this rate, nearly 22 million songs will be hosted on the world’s number one streaming platform by the end of this year. And this number is still growing.

The Swedish group’s founder, Daniel Ek, said in 2019 that nearly 40 000 songs were added to Spotify every day.

DistroKid now estimates it distribute­s “30-40% of all new music in the world” and that its catalogue contains nearly 20 million tracks, by more than two million artists.

Two years ago, the American company counted only 250 000 artists in its ranks, according to specialise­d site, Music Ally. A large proportion of these artists are independen­t.

At a time when the remunerati­on of artists by streaming services is being debated, an increasing number are trying their luck alone by turning to distributo­rs like EmuBands and Distrokid. The advantage? Keeping control of one’s career by holding onto all the rights associated with one’s music and all the income that comes from it.

Clearly it’s a popular model: independen­t artists released 9.5 million tracks last year. Major labels released only 1.2 million, according to the Financial Times.

Although they don’t have the promotiona­l clout of the major record companies, musician-entreprene­urs now represent a significan­t market share.

MIDiA Research estimates they generated nearly $1.2 billion (about R16.8 billion) in 2020, compared to $873 million the previous year. –

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