Thu | Dec 1, 2022

US distributor improves business model for local music industry

Published:Monday | December 27, 2021 | 12:06 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Alkaline is among the Jamaican artistes whose songs have been distributed through MarvMent.
Alkaline is among the Jamaican artistes whose songs have been distributed through MarvMent.

Independent acts in the dancehall space usually have a specific season to break. In the past, there would be one authentic dancehall song or artiste that rules the global charts but in recent times, more productions have had a chance to shine, and not only of the established, popular artistes and that’s because of streaming and an increase in music distribution companies that partner with a large number of digital platforms.

One such company is MarvMent. According to Samantha Grandinetti, Communications Manager for the US-based music distribution company, coordinating with digital distribution services does not have to be difficult and can be profitable when the artistes or producers find the right representation and platform to work with.

“Generally, the beauty of the distribution industry is that music producers can decide which companies work for them through trial and error,” Grandinetti told The Gleaner.

She added, “We have a world-class development team who has implemented a robust backend architecture to ensure ease of delivery and a super user-friendly content management system. With this, conversation with streaming platform stakeholders is not challenging.”

Taking all factors into consideration, MarvMent projects that “the rise of the independent artiste and dancehall can be sustained in any market worldwide”.

“Proper structuring of the industry and better oversight” will provide the solutions that the local music industry –specifically dancehall – needs, said Grandinetti.

Established in 2013, MarvMent’s goal has always been to make music video distribution easy for independent producers and artistes, and that what’s keeping them hungry in the music business today. Recently they added audio distribution to the services offered. Their catalogue includes the works of music makers, spanning the pop, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, reggaeton and modern music genres. It is one of the top 10 recommended content delivery partners listed on VEVO’s website. It has also partnered with Spotify, Tidal, including distribution to Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, TikTok and more than 150 download and streaming stores worldwide.

With the exponential rise in streaming, the communications manager explained that the company which was originally providing subscription-based video distribution increased its resources to make services more scalable.

Grandinetti said, “The music industry has been rocked by the effects of the pandemic, so we’re gifting independent producers 100 per cent retention of their audio streaming earnings for a year; [it] is our way of helping the industry. And although the core business is distribution, and there are no direct partnerships with artistes at this time, we also offer a platform where talent-seekers worldwide can find artistes. Artistes and managers can manage bookings with ease.”

Among the many artistes whose works have been distributed through the company is Ludacris, whose song Vitamin D, features Ty Dolla Sign and Sean Kingston. Out of Jamaica, songs by General Degree, Spice, Tommy Lee Sparta, Alkaline, whose Ride On Me (Remix) now boasts more than 48 millions views on YouTube, and fast-rising acts like Rygin King, TeeJay, Shaneil Muir and Skillibeng can be found among their distributed works.

Dancehall’s culture and the informal economy rising from it, requires a different logic and approach to the e-commerce side of the music and this includes, “more accountability by key players,” Grandinetti stated.

After producing a song and investing thousands of dollars to mix and master it, then producing an immaculate video to add visuals to it, no artiste or producer wants to have his work sitting on his hard drive and cloud, or just being shared on local radio for persons to discover it, they want it to be consumed in order to see the returns on their investment.

“An independent producer should look into marketing content and gaining insights through marketing links. Get valuable analytics for contents where financial earnings reports for audio and video publishing are provided and MarvMent has these features to make it easy to publish music and manage content. Certainly once the music is in the hands of a trusted and capable distributor, it will be distributed to the right streaming platforms with ease thus giving dancehall a sustainable chance,” she said.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com