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09/13/2017

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Soundrop is a new distribution platform tailored to the YouTube-generation artist. Offering quick and affordable distribution to top digital outlets, integrated cover song licensing, and automatic royalty splits between collaborators, Soundrop is the distribution solution for the serial content creator and collaborator.

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Lex Lindsey
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Gamechangers: A New Generation of Creators Relies on Soundrop to Get Their Music to the World (and Money in their Pockets)

Free distribution plus simplified, affordable cover song licensing allows constant creators to release more - and earn more

Video game music, and those who do high-concept, epic arrangements of it. The YouTubers with golden voices. The quirky new corners of internet-spawned musical invention that have won over millions of dedicated fans.

Soundrop, the indie distribution platform designed for single- and YouTube-first artists, can attest to the increasing popularity and impact of these scenes. The service has seen a flood of business this year so far. Its catalog has grown by 25%, driven by the low barrier to entry ($0 distro fee, a real boon for constant creators) and features that facilitate collaboration and simplified cover song licensing ($9.99 one-time fee/track). Over 7,000 cover song licenses have been cleared for commercial distribution since the beginning of 2017.

In July, Soundrop collected nearly $600k in streaming and download revenue, the vast majority of which is from cover songs and video game music. Soundrop’s best-selling artists average $15k/month, with some collecting up to $70k in a single month. This music is big business. “Distributing music this way has been one of my main sources of income for years,” says YouTube favorite PelleK (who’s gained more than 2.4 million subscribers to his high-octane metal covers and anime renditions).

“Remarkably little attention has been paid to artists who aren’t struggling with the current digital business model but who have hacked it,” opines Zach “Pony” Domer of Soundrop. “There are a significant number of artists who see YouTube as their primary platform or who create in the VGM sphere, who are truly thriving, earning admirable income from their work.”

Video game music runs the sonic gamut and can reach notable artistic heights. Take Materia Collective, who compose music for games, inspired by games, and chronicling gaming. They range from 80s-style rock revamps of Sonic the Hedgehog licks, to epic symphonic journeys through Skyrim. Or Gamechops, a wildly popular video game remix label. “Soundrop is a good fit for us because it offers us the ability to license our covers, and has a dedicated team to ensure our multi-artist albums show up in stores exactly how we want them,” explains Gamechops’ Chris Cutman.

YouTube has created entire new genres and scenes, often powered by pop song covers, be they metal af (Leo) or deeply emotional (Daniel Jang). Then there’s Cat Trumpet, with their gentle covers of anime and other classics (adorable harp renditions of the theme from My Friend Totoro, anyone?). Leo of Frog Leap Studio has won over 1.9 million subscribers on YouTube with covers, and Soundrop has been essential in securing his license to create new, fun versions of hit songs. “I deal mostly with cover songs, and they fix everything with licensing and releases on all the platforms I use,” he says. “It’s simply awesome!”

For heavy guitar-wielding, game music-loving YouTube artist Ro Panuganti, using multiple distribution platforms at once has jumpstarted his career. “By coinciding music releases on iTunes, Spotify, and so on with music video releases on Youtube, I was able to grow a library of music people can purchase to support the channel and eventually fund more instruments and projects. I also found it a great way to help support charity projects, and around 2014 I helped direct the Multiplayer Video Game Charity album. All in all, being able to release and legally sell my music, covers and others, opens up a lot of doors.”

These artists take business and analytics extremely seriously, and have integrated the dashboards and feedback inherent in YouTube into their music making. Comments, requests, and stats are key elements that shape these artists’ output and creativity. Daniel Jang kept getting fans begging him to put his music out via Spotify and iTunes. He finally obliged, and he went with Soundrop. “Thanks to the responsive service and help, I felt like I could trust Soundrop with the handling of my recordings. One other thing was that Soundrop covered all the major stores that I wanted to see my music in.”

The user interface is sleek enough to navigate, I can comfortably upload tracks and provide quick info to get them licensed within a few days, and while the company is still new they've really shown their respect and excitement for the cover community. As someone who's been releasing songs almost every week, it's crucial that my distributor can keep up and support that!

Distributing to new platforms via Soundrop has opened up new ways of understanding fans’ tastes and habits. Many YouTube-first artists crunch data in savvy ways and the additional numbers from Soundrop helped them further hone their work and model. “Thanks to the reports from Soundrop, I realized that the majority of my fans leaned towards Spotify more than iTunes, which initially surprised me,” says Jang.

Dima Lancaster, who specializes in elegant anime covers, agrees that Soundrop distribution has changed how his fans relate to his work. “Now that my content is available more widely online, my fan base has become so much more creative! I kid you not, I get bombarded with fan-made music videos, vocal and guitar covers, speed drawing clips, even dancing videos - all using my tracks that are now available online for people to enjoy and draw inspiration from - thanks to Soundrop!”

“For many YouTube creators and video game musicians, fast and reliable distribution is key to continuous audience engagement and music proliferation,” states Sebastian Wolff of Materia Collective. “Soundrop has proven to be a worthy contender, ready for handling the demands of the digital indie musician. In addition to streamlining music distribution, Soundrop's partnership with Loudr provides mechanical licensing, a necessity for anyone creating cover songs.”

About Soundrop

Soundrop is a new distribution platform tailored to the YouTube-generation artist. Offering quick and affordable distribution to top digital outlets, integrated cover song licensing, and automatic royalty splits between collaborators, Soundrop is the distribution solution for the serial content creator and collaborator.