Get to know your local aggregator

Monday, 19 Nov 2018

The options for choosing an aggregator service, also often referred to as a digital distributor, are plentiful. The services on offer are many. The payment or fee structure varies. It's a lot to take in when you want to focus on the music, the tour, and the promo. 

There's a related tips piece on how to get your music on the services here.

We asked a few of the local aggregators to share a bit more about what they offer and what sets them apart in the marketplace. Have a read and get to know your local aggregator.

DITTO - dittomusic.com
Ditto Music is a digital distributor and global music company, that also offers label services to independent artists and labels. Ditto has 20 offices globally across 16 countries and over 70 staff to help support and promote music globally. Sarah Hamilton, Operations Manager answered our questions below.

1. Briefly, what are the different service levels on offer via DITTO?

Ditto offers global digital distribution, additional features like pre-release campaigns and chart registration, PR, social media, assistance with setting up your own record label, and also label services such as release strategy and pitching to the DSPs globally for support on playlists, coverage on home pages, and social media posts. Ditto now also has a synchronisation department as a part of the label services division.

2. What does DITTO consider its main point of difference compared to the other aggregator services?

Artists at any stage of their career can use Ditto. If an artist is emerging, they can use us for distribution and retain 100% of the royalties and rights to their music. As their career develops, we can then move onto the label service options. With a team of over 70 and 20 offices globally, we have a connected team that work to promote releases on an international scale. This means that an artist just starting out can use Ditto for distribution, but as they grow they can then access our international team.

3. What aggregator-related service is currently the most in-demand and why?

Playlisting! So many artists want to get their music onto playlists curated by the DSPs such as Spotify or Apple Music. It’s understandable, as getting your band’s music featured on a playlist can really help kick-start a career, and can mean a lot of streams, attention and ultimately more revenue. However we also recommend that artists continue focusing on other parts of their career also, as it all works in together. It’s exciting that artists can really see their career take off quite quickly though, and also outside of Australia. Streaming platforms have really helped to export Australian artists to the rest of the globe.

4. What part of the digital music distribution process do your users find the most confusing? Can you help de-mystify?

Most artists are now across how it all works, but there’s still a lot who don’t realise how much they can use platforms like Spotify to look at who their fans are, and access that data. Also, artists don’t realise that if they have been linked to another artist on a platform, this is something that can be fixed. Please don’t put up with having random other artists on your page, you don’t have to! Your aggregator can help.

5. Can you forecast an upcoming digital distribution-related trend that songwriters should know about?

Artists should keep up to date with Spotify for Artists, so they know what they have access to change on their profile, any new features and also and how they can pitch to playlists themselves. Apple Music for Artists is now available too.

I also urge artists not to forget about Amazon Music and also YouTube Music - these platforms also support independent artists, and have a lot of localised playlists too.

6. Do you have an in-market presence or rep?

Yes! There’s myself, and also Rochelle Flack here in Oz. We are expanding the team in 2019 also, which is exciting.

DRM NZ - drm.co.nz/
DRM NZ is a digital distributor and YouTube MCN (Multi-Channel Network) that provides full digital management services, enabling content holders to easily and quickly maximise audience reach, financial return and security rights for their content via all major digital platforms. Head of Digital Andy Low answered the Qs below.

1. Briefly, what are the different service levels on offer via DRM?

DRM offers global music distribution from a local level. This includes launching music onto iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play/YouTube Music, Amazon, Tidal, and many more. New Zealand artists can reach a worldwide audience through our global distribution services.

DRM is also New Zealand's only certified YouTube MCN (Multi-Channel Network), ensuring rightsholder's material is properly represented on the world's largest video platform.

2. What does DRM consider its main point of difference compared to the other aggregator services?

We offer a hands-on approach to releasing music, aiming to make the process of getting material online as painless as possible. DRM offers a human element to what can otherwise be a mechanical experience for artists/managers/labels. We want to help people to achieve their digital release vision.

Since DRM has been in operation for over a dozen years, we have long running direct relationships with the largest digital music companies including Apple, Spotify and Google, who we keep in regular communication with about key new releases.

3. What aggregator-related service is currently the most in-demand and why?

Being submitted for playlist consideration is increasingly important around priority new releases. This is something we've been involved with for years, but as the processes change we continue to change with them. We work with material from a huge range of genres, from hip-hop, pop, indie rock, country music, reggae, etc (and just about everything in between), and our aim is to simply represent good music properly.

4. What part of the digital music distribution process do your users find the most confusing? Can you help de-mystify?

We field a lot of questions about landing on editorial playlists, as well as the process for artists to get access to their own artist profiles on the streaming platforms.

For new artists there's sometimes confusion about the dissemination of royalties between usage of the master recordings and the composition. We try to explain how the flow of revenues work between streaming online vs radio play, etc.

5. Can you forecast an upcoming digital distribution-related trend that songwriters and composers should know about?

It will be very interesting to see if audio-recognition tech usage around unofficial remixes or otherwise uncleared samples gets legitimized and normalized.   Also the merging of social media platforms and music usage could potentially yield new revenue-generating avenues, but time will tell. The only sure bet is that things will continue to change, so being involved in this side of the music industry means we've got to keep on our toes!

6. Do you have an in-market presence or rep?

Our entire team is based in Auckland: actual real people at the end of the phone, answering emails and available to help walk people through the process.

GYROstream - gyrostream.com
GYROstream is a Brisbane based digital music distribution service allowing independent artists to release their music globally to over 100 digital music platforms. General Manager Andy Irvine answered the questions below.

1. Briefly, what are the different service levels on offer via GYROstream?

Digital distribution is our core service, where we deliver your songs to the major global platforms such as Spotify, Apple, Amazon and YouTube, but also many localised services in South America, the Middle East, China and Russia. On top of our distribution offering, we also have an in-house PR team, and offer playlist pitching, vinyl manufacture, a sync/licensing service and insurance. 

2. What does GYROstream consider its main point of difference compared to the other aggregator services?

For Australian and New Zealand artists, having a local Brisbane-based support team, on the same time zone, sets us apart from other international aggregators. We can offer tailored local services such as free ARIA chart registration, playlist promotion to the local Australian editorial teams, payouts in AUD (direct to bank), and we are passionate about providing artists with strategic advice about the best release strategies to get their music noticed.

3. What aggregator-related service is currently the most in-demand and why?

All emerging artists want to get on playlists. Getting on a good playlist kickstarts your campaign and can boost your reach organically, especially if you get on an international playlist. With a service like Spotify, many of those playlists are decided by algorithms, so there is heaps an artist can do to generate buzz for their release and drive their fans to their Spotify page to spike the algorithm in their favour.

4. What part of the digital music distribution process do your users find the most confusing? Can you help de-mystify?

Most artists need to understand the importance of a proper timeline and release strategy. If you have a single to release, artists need plan their campaign strategy at least 6 weeks in advance to make sure they are giving themselves the best opportunity of success. As a distributor we see so many artists upload to us who want their music out within a matter of days. Give your distributor at least 2 weeks to ensure a smooth release, but the campaign should have been launched long before. 

5. Can you forecast an upcoming digital distribution-related trend that songwriters and composers should know about?

The introduction of AI based composing and recording tools has the potential to shake up the industry over the next few years. We may see a huge surge in music content that is distributed to online platforms making it harder for traditional songwriters and artists to cut through. But where songwriters can use these tools to supplement and enhance their creative ideas, saving both time and money, there could be great advantages to be had. 

6. Do you have an in-market presence or rep?

We are a Brisbane-based company so can be reached on phone or email during normal business hours.


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