Business

This New Video Streaming Service Wants to Be Your Go-To for Filmed Music Content

Courtesy of The Coda Collection

Under CEO Jim Spinello, the Amazon-hosted channel is pitching itself as a potential new revenue stream for video catalog content.

Late last month, the Coda Collection -- a new multi-media company led by CEO Jim Spinello -- announced it would be launching an exclusive channel on Amazon Prime Video featuring a curated library of performances and documentaries from both classic and contemporary artists. Along with an accompanying editorial website led by former Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot, the venture is being billed as a deep-dive destination for music lovers looking to get an intimate, heavily contextualized look at their favorite performers.

For artists and rights holders, Coda Collection also presents a significant opportunity, adding to a growing list of potential new revenue streams for catalog content. “From a musical content perspective, [in the past] you were sort of stuck with a few outlets, it might have been HBO or Showtime or Cinemax back in that day, or PBS,” Spinello tells Billboard. “But you were kind of limited, and the licensing windows tied you up for a bit. After a sort of windowing or an airing, it kind of became a lost asset for a period of time.”

Spinello and his founding team, which also includes John McDermott and Janie Hendrix of Experience Hendrix, Yoko Ono and the John Lennon estate and entertainment lawyer Jonas Herbsman, are now looking to shake up the old paradigm with an all-access subscription model that uses the power and reach of the Amazon distribution network to bring legacy video content in music -- much of it rare and some it never before seen -- to a larger audience than ever before.

Launching today in the U.S. and slated to roll out to the rest of the world over the next year, Coda Collection has buy-in from most of the major players in music: Content partners at launch include all three major labels (Sony Music is an equity partner in the new venture), Rhino Entertainment, Concord Music, Mercury Studios, Reelin’ In The Years Productions and CREEM Magazine, among others. The library currently consists of around 150 titles, including premier content such as Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix In Maui, The Rolling Stones On The Air, Johnny Cash At San Quentin and Miranda Lambert: Revolution Live By Candlelight, along with newly-filmed, exclusive performances from artists including Jane’s Addiction and Stone Temple Pilots.

Spinello tells Billboard that the germ of the idea behind Coda Collection began more than two decades ago -- though the landscape at that time wasn't hospitable to the concept. “We were kind of joking around back in that day, ‘If only we could do a music HBO,’” he says. "But that would've proved to be incredibly expensive.”

Spinello and his partners began developing the service in earnest about five years ago, once streaming became the dominant mode of content consumption and effectively opened up new opportunities that proved to be considerably less daunting and costly than, say, starting a brand-new TV network.

“There [have been] places for us to put video content, but in general, at the time and still today, the unit economics weren't terrific for the artist or for the rights holder,” Spinello continues. “Distribution became more of a promotion tool than it was a contextual experience. So our premise was, 'Let us [go back to] the drawing board with this contextual experience and solve for distribution, and then let's see what we have.’”

The distribution solution came courtesy of Amazon, which presented Coda Collection with integration opportunities across its entire ecosystem, including e-commerce as well as Amazon Music, which will host curated playlists spun off from Coda's library. It also provides the service's video content with instant global reach -- a notable improvement from before, when territory-specific licenses were the name of the game.

“You're able to have a partner with an enormous global footprint that also sells your physical goods and also streams your audio and also sells your merchandise, so it just seemed like a really great fit,” said McDermott, who has worked with Experience Hendrix for 25 years. “Where if you're a Jimi Hendrix fan, if you get inspired by seeing the new Maui documentary, you can buy the product there, you can buy the merchandise there, you can stream the music there. We just felt that was a much better way of keeping a fan engaged.”

To come up with licensing costs, Coda Collection recently completed a seed round consisting of non-institutional capital from artists and angel networks; it is now in “early conversations” with institutional investors for its Series A, says Spinello. Exclusive SVOD rights for content are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, with a typical license lasting between one and three years.

Going forward, Coda has plans to expand its library considerably; after launch, Spinello says they’ll be adding 20 to 30 titles monthly via what he calls a “very active” artist outreach operation, as well as a substantial number of inbound requests that have come in since the platform was first announced.

Artist outreach for the venture is being led by McDermott, who well understands the value of new platforms like Coda Collection in generating revenue and fostering the legacies of artists like Hendrix. On the latter front, he points to Coda's artist-friendly model, which not only adds valuable (and potentially lucrative) context to its content via the editorial platform but also frees rights holders of the limits demanded by traditional distribution models.

“That's part of the fun in what we're able to do, is to kind of share these artists and share this great stuff without having to worry about the old television rules of a 22-minute half hour or 42-minute hour or any of that nonsense,” says McDermott, who worked closely with Janie Hendrix on the Maui documentary. “Previously you kind of had to shoehorn music into television.”

He adds, “I think if you consider the global reach that Amazon Prime has, and as the DVD market has kind of atrophied in favor of streaming, it seemed like a [good] opportunity."

Coda Collection is now available for $4.99 a month, with a 7-day free trial for new subscribers. You can find more information here and see a list of content at launch below.

999 - Nasty Tales 2006
AC/DC - Live at Donington
AC/DC - Live at River Plate
Albert King - Live in Sweden - Blues Legends
Allman Brothers - 50th Anniversary Celebration (2020) MSG
Alton Ellis - In Memoriam 1938-2008: Live At The Jazz Cafe London
Arc Angels - Live in Austin, Texas
Arc Angels - Living in a Dream
American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Volume 1
American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Volume 2
American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 Volume 3
American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969 The British Tours
Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul 1968
Ashley Hutchings & Rainbow Chasers - Live at Huntingdon Hall
The Avett Brothers - Charlotte Speedway
Barry Gibb - The Great Songwriters
Bert Jansch - Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning
Bill Withers - The Great Songwriters
Billy Strings - 2020/09/26 Red Rocks
Bob Dylan - Trouble No More
Bob Dylan - Other Side of The Mirror
Buddy Guy - My Time After Awhile
Carly Simon - The Great Songwriters
Charles Mingus: Live in '64
Chuck D - The Great Songwriters
Country Joe McDonald - Turned Up and Turned On
CREEM: America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine
Curtis Mayfield - Live at Montreux 1987
Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Battleship Chains
Dave Matthews Band - Live in Noblesville, IN 6/29/2019
David Gilmour - Wider Horizons
Derrick Morgan - Fat Man Live in London
Desmond Dekker - Israelites Live in London
Diamond Head - Electric Evil
Echo & The Bunnymen - Dancing Horses: Live At The Shepherds Bush Empire
Elkie Brooks - We've Got Tonight
Fairport Convention - 35th Anniversary
Fairport Convention - Live at Marlowe Theatre
The Fall - A Touch Sensitive
The Farm - All Together Now That's What I Call
Foo Fighters - Skin & Bones
Foo Fighters - Hyde Park
Foo Fighters - Everywhere But Home
Foo Fighters - Back And Forth
Freddie King - Live in Europe - Blues Legends
Godfathers - Shot Live at the 100 Club
Dead and Company - 6/30/2017 Wrigley Field Live Performance
Hawkwind - Out Of The Shadows In Concert
Hazel O'Connor - Will You Live In Brighton
Human League - Live at the Dome
Ian Hunter - All the Young Dudes
Incredible String Band - Live at the Lowry
James Taylor - Live at the Beacon Theatre
Jane's Addiction - Replay 2020
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Live at The Ryman Auditorium 10/18/2019
Jeremy Spencer - In Session
Jesus Jones - Bright Young Things
Jimi Hendrix - Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight
Jimi Hendrix - BBC Sessions
Jimi Hendrix - Making of Electric Ladyland
Jimi Hendrix - The Dick Cavett Show
Jimi Hendrix - The Dick Cavett Show Documentary
Jimi Hendrix - American Landing : Jimi Hendrix Live at Monterey
Jimi Hendrix - Jimi Plays Berkeley
Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsy's Concert
Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsy's Documentary
Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train a Comin'
Jimi Hendrix - Music, Money Madness, Live in Maui
Jimi Hendrix - Live at Woodstock
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Church
Jimmy James & The Vagabonds - I’ll Go Where Your Music Takes Me
Jimmy Webb - The Great Songwriters
Joe Brown - An Audience With Joe Brown
Jazz Icons: John Coltrane Live 1960-1965
John Coltrane: Live in '60, '61 and '65 (Live Performance)
John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth
John Mayall - The Godfather Of British Blues (2003 Documentary)
Junior Wells w/ Special Guest Buddy Guy - Live At Nightstage - Blues Legends
Ken Hensley & Live Fire - Live in Russia
King Kurt - King Zulu
Lee Perry - Live at the Jazz Cafe
Lee Perry - Live in Bristol Concorde
Marvin Gaye - The Real Thing in Performance
Michael Chapman - Journeyman
Jazz Icons: Miles Davis Live 1967
Miranda Lambert - Revolution: Live By Candlelight
Motorhead - Motorhead Live: Everything Louder Than Everything Else
My Morning Jacket - Red Rocks 8/2/19
Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Shoot The Neds In Concert
New Model Army - Live 161203
Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets - Live at the Roundhouse
Nine Below Zero - On The Road Again
Noel Gallagher - The Great Songwriters
Norah Jones - The Great Songwriters
Oasis - Manchester Stadium
Paul Anka - The Great Songwriters
Paul Simon - The Concert in Hyde Park
Paul Simon - The Concert in Central Park
Pearl Jam - Philadelphia 2016 (The Ten Show)
Pearl Jam - The Kids Are 20 (2021)
Pearl Jam - PJ 20
Pearl Jam - Safeco Field, Seattle (The Home Shows)
Punch Brothers - Black Bird 11.15.2020 Nashville TN
Rikki Lee Jones - The Great Songwriters
Rolling Stones - Ladies and Gentlemen
Rolling Stones - Marquee Club 1971
Rolling Stones - Steel Wheels
Rolling Stones - Rialto Theater 1972 Rehearsals
Sammy Hagar - Catalina Island 10/17/20
Seal - The Great Songwriters
The Selecter - Get On The Train To Skaville
Sham 69 - The Adventures of Hersham Boys
Simon & Garfunkel - The Concert In Central Park (Live)
Slaughter and the Dogs - Manchester 101 2005
Southside Johnny - Live at the Opera House aka From Southside To Tyneside 2002
Splodgenessabounds - Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please!
Stax/Volt Revue - Live in Norway 1967
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Live at the El Mocambo
Stiff Little Fingers - Handheld & Rigidly
Stiff Little Fingers - At the Edge Live and Kickin
Stone Temple Pilots - Core
Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
String Cheese Incident - Live at Red Rocks
The Bluetones - Beat about the Bush
The Buzzcocks - Live At Shepherds Bush Empire
The Wedding Present - An Evening With The Wedding Present
The Toy Dolls - Absolutely Live
Trey Anastasio - Ghosts of the Forest
UK Subs - Warhead: 25th Anniversary Marquee Concert
Soul to Soul
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: The Story of Wax Trax! Records
Voice of the Beehive - Don’t Call Me Baby
Widespread Panic Live in New Orleans 10/31/2019
The Wonder Stuff - Construction for the Modern Vidiot
Wu Tang Clan - Live at Montreux 2007

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