Launching Israel’s first and only crowdfunded accelerator!
October 1, 2016
HOW INDIE LABEL MARATHON ARTISTS LAUNCHED ITS OWN STARTUPS ACCELERATOR
April 8, 2016
Marathon Artists Labs accelerator returns with monetisation focus
May 16, 2017
Scotty de Mercado, Audiotube CEO discusses startups and the music business today
July 5, 2016
Scotty de Mercado is the CEO of Audiotube who are a partner of MarathonArtists LABs. In this interview we discussed the music business today and how startups are helping shape a new music landscape.
Scotty, tell us what Audiotube does and what makes it special ?
Audiotube lets Artists and Labels publish their music to streaming services such as Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal and iTunes.
Music streaming has created the need for better DIY platforms and music services tailored to a digital music business. Our mission is to be the service of choice for all Independent Artists and Labels. We’ve created the simplest way for Artists and Labels to get their music out and receive analytics with actionable insights on their plays and royalties for a £5 monthly subscription.
We are partnered with Merlin, which give our Artists a standardised deal on their streaming royalties, and Google for our tech infrastructure allowing us to keep our tech costs minimal which we pass on to our customers with a simple low subscription fee.
The startups that were selected are all developing services which I believe are relevant for Audiotube’s Artist and Label customers.
You partnered with MarathonArtists LABs for their first startup accelerator in music and tech. What was the rational behind this ?
When we were developing Audiotube we worked closely withMarathon Artists to understand their needs and their Artists’ needs, particularly when it comes to digital distribution and promotion. This has helped inform how we shaped the Audiotube service you see today. When they decided to launch a startup accelerator program focused on tools for Artists I felt this unique program would be a perfect fit for our mission to “light the way” for Artists. The startups that were selected are all developing services which I believe are relevant for Audiotube’s Artist and Label customers. Also, I’m a startup entrepreneur myself and I know how challenging product development in a young company is for company founders. Audiotube was recently selected for and completed an accelerator program too ( see EuropeanPioneers ) so I know how useful this format can be to startups. It was also a great opportunity to get my hands dirty again and support this new generation of founders!
The music business is often described as challenging for startups, why is that ?
Many music industry observers would cite the opacity of the music industry and all its legal complexities as a hurdle when it comes to developing business with startups. I think there’s a lot more to it. The music businesses as I see it today has Artists who have access to all the tools they need to reach their fans at their fingertips. This means Music Labels have to work much harder and smarter for their Artists to help them expose their work better, connect with fans and generate revenues. Furthermore, we must not overlook the fact that the music business consists of a diverse mix of people who create, produce and promote with longstanding relationships built on mutual trust and a deep understanding of the value of creative work. A business run on “handshakes” some would say. Startupsmay not always appreciate these nuances and the relationships they need to navigate to get an Artist to use their product — which also has a whole other layer of complexity when it comes to music rights.
Forward thinking Artist centric labels such as Marathon Artists have always workedclosely with startups for the benefit of their Artists. Such organisations are a conduit, a sounding board and an intermediary that can help startups create bridges to Artists and their management to develop their products in music.
Artists today have all the tools they need at their fingertips and the startups at MarathonArtists LABs are great examples of such tools for Artists and Music Managers.
Can startups make a difference in music ?
Yes they can and we are already seeing this. As I mentioned earlier, Artists today have all the tools they need at their fingertips and the startups at MarathonArtists LABs are great examples of such tools for Artists and Music Managers. It is not a surprise to me that after six months all of the startups are piloting with Artists and music companies, winning awards and high profile clients. They are creating new ways for Artists to engage with their fans, improve revenues and develop new experiences around their creative works. I think this accelerator program has proven that startups do indeed make a difference and at Audiotube we have already started working with all the startups to integrate their services and offer them to our customers. This is a strong validation of the MarathonArtists LABs approach in identifying relevant startups and the value these startups bring to our customers, the Artists.
Is integrating startup services a part of your strategy at Audiotube ?
Media distribution is a large and competitive market. Our strategy is to actively invest in R&D at Audiotube to give us a competitive edge and stay up to date with relevant services we can offer to our customers. For example, we are currently piloting integration of blockchain for auditing artist plays and speeding up payment of revenues. We are also testing a new virtual reality publishing format for music. If these work, we will offer them to our customers, the Artists and Labels. As a growing company we need to continuously identify such innovations and this can only scale if we work with programs like MarathonArtists LABs. It is the perfect platform for us to execute our R&D strategy.
Through programs like MarathonArtists LABs we are seeing the development of a new approach to supporting artists and the evolution of the music business.
What’s the future of the music business ?
As the founder of a startup that focuses on digital distribution in music I’m regularly asked this question….Ultimately we have to focus on what the music business is about at its core : Artists.
Artists are the lifeblood of music and today music is consumed more than ever. However, Artists are making less and less. It does not have to be this way. It should not be this way. Audiotube is transforming archaic distribution and monetisation methods and systems. We are making them transparent and efficient for our customers, the Artists. This is just one part of the transformation that the industry is going through and through programs like MarathonArtists LABs we are seeing the development of a new approach to supporting artists and the evolution of the music business. Many of the music companies, managers and mentors at MarathonArtists LABs are open to experimenting with new ways of reaching audiences, piloting smarter monetisation tactics and creating new experiences for fans — all the time keeping sight of Artists needs. These are the building blocks of a new Artist centric music business and it’s a privilege to be working with startups creating this and a forward thinking music label, Marathon Artists, that is helping to shape the new music ecosystem.
MarathonArtists LABs is hosting a demo-evening at Tileyard Studios, London on July 6. This event will showcase the startups that make up MarathonArtists LABs first 6-month accelerator program focused on tools for artists and music managers.