We’re always on the lookout for new initiatives to help independent artists bring their music to a wider audience. Barney recently told me about a new UK-based digital distribution service he’s working on, currently in beta version, which actually pays writers their proper PRS/MCPS fee on all sales. I invited him to write a guest blog post to tell us all about it… Tom Robinson
Hello Fresh on the Net readers! This is Barney, the community manager from Songeist.com – a new London-based website currently in its Beta version, which we launched last September. Our small, dedicated team aims to offer a new home for emerging musicians in the UK – and to make it easy for fans to discover, share and download their music.
CAN’T THEY DO THAT ALREADY?
Having a long history in bands, music promotion and DIY labels myself, I know at first hand how daunting the choices for new bands – in terms of online distribution – can be. There are many equally viable routes to getting your music online and out to the world, which is why our priority at Songeist is to provide more than just an impersonal sales site or faceless distribution platform.
Well on the one hand the global download behemoths do have a worldwide reach, but on the other hand they pay scant attention to emerging grassroots artists, especially in the UK. In the Songeist office we listen to every single artist that joins the site – and aim to offer a much more personal touch: both in corresponding with the acts and our proximity to the UK live music scene.
BLOG, SHOWCASES, SESSIONS
To help foster our growing community, our blog offers guidance from industry figures plus features and interviews with Songeist artists themselves. Among the many ways we work to support our artists, we’re most proud of our series of Showcases and Sessions – you can keep up with these by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.
Our next showcase will be at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton on May 10th at The Mucky Duck, with our acts Cocoa Futures, Mas Agua, Swell and Haze all getting a chance to make their music heard by industry, fans and fellow musicians alike. If you’re going to be at the Festival next month, do come and catch the show. You can put your name down for the guestlist here – we’d be very glad to meet you.
THE BUSINESS DIFFERENCE
In the first place, joining Songeist is free for both artists and fans. Secondly most music download stores charge a percentage of the selling price for their services: the more you charge for your music, the more of your money they get to keep. Songeist simply asks for a flat 12p per track regardless of what price the track is set at, to cover our operating costs. The more money you set your track for, the more money you will earn.
Thirdly – unlike, say, Bandcamp or Amazing Tunes – we protect our artists by making any deductions needed for VAT and PRS For Music on their behalf. The Amazons and Apples of this world may use offshore tax loopholes, but as a UK company we play everything strictly by the rules – and make sure our artists have no hidden liabilities or nasty surprises stored up for the future.
ARE YOU COMPETING WITH ITUNES?
Of course we’re not seeking to replace the distribution sites like AWAL and Tunecore that can service your tracks to most of the existing online platforms – including iTunes, Amazon MP3 and CD Baby. You’ll probably want to continue using these alongside Songeist to complete your mix of digital sales options. But remember that an aggregator will take a further cut from your track on top of the percentage charged by the sales platform. Those extra cuts from your gross income all add up!
HOW DOES SPONSORSHIP WORK?
We’re really proud of our sponsorship system. As a registered member of Songeist, when you invite someone, and they join, you become their sponsor. Each music purchase they make on the site, you are entitled to 5% of that sale. This applies to ANY and ALL music purchased across the site. This opens another effortless revenue stream for emerging artists and a new way for fans to support their favourite acts and engage in the support of DIY artists.
Our philosophy in answer to the question of ‘why Songeist?’ is simple: we’re working hard to make our service the best it can be, and one of the main things we want to encourage is dialogue. We’ve got a great tech team – and getting feedback from you guys will help them develop and grow our service in ways that best meet your needs as an artist. So if you have any questions, suggestions or points to make, please give me a shout and I’ll be more than happy to chat.
Thanks for reading – and I hope we’ll be seeing some new artist profiles and hearing a load of new tunes from the Fresh On The Net faithful!
Barney is the community manager at Songeist.com. He enjoys the singular thrill of being one of the first to hear a great, emerging act, unsullied by media hype or industry expectations. He also writes guidance blogs, fuelled by his extensive gigging and DIY music business experience with rock / reggae / dance mash-up Sonic Boom Six. Barney takes his coffee strong, black and often and would one day like to visit Australia.