Interview: StreamOnDistro

Interview: StreamOnDistro

Today we interview Michael from independent distrubutor StreamOnDistro (25% off with coupon code UnlockYourSound)

How and why did you found StreamOnDistro?

My daughter is a musician named Dreamer and I saw how hard she worked at trying to grow her listeners. Through supporting her I started to find so many other amazing indie artists with fantastic music not being heard and started actively seeking out great indie music from lesser known artists. I also discovered that these artists were constantly being bombarded by fake promoters promising streams for money, or playlist placements. It also started frustrating me that large music distributors didn't really provide any real support for indie artists as they were paid for distribution in advance; it didn't matter to them if the artist had one or one million monthly listeners.

When the Covid lockdown happened I took the opportunity to start StreamOnDistro music distribution specifically aimed to support new and emerging indie artists by not directly costing them anything to help minimize their costs, and also to provide support to help them grow and find an audience. This is done through distribution, social media promotions, playlist placements, radio play and whatever else we can do to support.

In December of 2023 after getting frustrated with low success getting songs on the radio I decided to start our StreamOnDistro Radio station where we play the music of our artists using our services 24/7. This has been a great project with May 2024 results showing the station was streamed in 72 countries with over 1,400 listening hours. Every day we have our Artist Select Show where we feature an artist and play one hour of their music three times during the day.

What's one of the biggest challenges for indie acts these days?

I believe there are two main issues, one current and one developing. The current challenge is algorithms. Music through streaming platforms has become less about people finding good music and more about algorithms dictating who gets to hear and not hear music. It has become about beating the algorithm system just to get music heard, then when indie artists take steps to support each other or look for ways to get heard, they could be hit with artificial streaming fines and even have their music removed from platforms.

The second challenge is the use of AI and bots, not only for music creation but for bot created playlists artificially streaming music without the artists knowledge, then the artist is held accountable even when they had nothing to do with it. Music is an art and it needs soul, AI music will never have soul but it's creeping into the music industry will just make it harder for real original music to be heard.

What changes do you see in the industry over the next decade?

Sadly I think it's going to get even harder for Indie artists to be able to make money from their art. Even the reliability of touring and merch is getting more expensive for artists to do, but as mentioned before, the biggest challenge will be with the rapid development of AI. If you take a look at what happened with the writer and actor strike in relation to AI, there is no such union representation for indie artists so how long will it be for AI to write music while using some kind of altered vocals of famous singers, or indie artists having to compete with 3D digital tours of AI generated bands?

Listeners who really appreciate the art of music will need to proactively take a stand against AI generated music and work harder to support true indie artists.

What’s your business model?

Our objective is to minimise costs to our artists, help them grow and to grow with them. We are commission based with a rate of 12% on streaming income. The idea is that if our artists aren't making any money, then neither are we, so it is our incentive to help them grow and find their audience. Rates are negotiable as the artist grows their listenership.

The distribution used to be completely free but we experienced too many fraudulent accounts being set up with scammers trying to release other people's work, so we introduced a one time €5 fee on the first release as a deterrent, which worked as most of the fraud was coming from markets where €5 would be expensive. If an artist already has released music and is proven legitimate we can override the €5 fee and don't charge it.

We work with a music promoter called IndieMusicLift who is really good at social media promotion, creating reels for IG and TikTok and generally promoting artists. There is constant promotional activity taking place.

What are your plans for your company?

StreamOnDistro started operating in Jan 2021 so the business is still really in its early days. Our goal is to continue supporting our current artists and grow their audiences, as well as attracting new artists to allow us to work with them. Long term my vision would be to expand by introducing StreamOnDistro Music Festivals where we would have our artists coming together and performing live shows. That for me would be great fun and something I would really enjoy doing.

Where can people learn more?

We are on most social media platforms as StreamOnDistro, all our links can be found on our Linktree
which also has the link to our website as well as registration page.

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