Secretly Canadian, Ultra Music, Robbins Execs Talk Monetization at A2IM Indie Week

The "Future of Monetizing Digital" panel at A2IM's Indie Week (from left): Jaclyn Ranere, The Orchard; Jason Lekberg, Eleven Seven; Lisa Levy, Robbins Entertainment; Chris Welz, Secretly Canadian Distribution; Oke Goetlich, finetunes (Photo: Reggie Ugwu)

Discussion centered on maximizing revenue from streaming platforms and YouTube during day two of Indie Week, hosted by A2IM, the American Association of Independent Music. Representatives from 500 of the group’s member labels and organizations milled about the Tribeca Grand Hotel in Manhattan, trading best practices and debating future directions for the independent music business.
During the "Future of Monetizing Digital," Lisa Levy of the electronic label Robbins Entertainment said her company tried an experiment where it removed one of the most popular songs in its catalog, Cascada’s “Every Time We Touch,” from all streaming services to see what effect it would have on digital downloads. According to Levy, the scarcity of the song online actually coincided with a dip in digital sales.

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Chris Welz, who represents over 30 independent labels as Managing Director of Secretly Canadian Distribution, offered advice to labels present on how to get their music noticed on streaming platforms like Spotify and Rdio. He said labels should make their full catalog available for streaming, either on release date or after a standardized window; that they should take advantage of available personalization features, including developing profiles for artists and the label; use audio drop ads as opposed to banner ads; and partner with popular apps on the platform such as TuneWiki.
In a later discussion on monetizing YouTube entitled "Video Monetization & Audience Developmen," Jane Hu of YouTube’s Next Lab encouraged labels to develop non-music video content, such as behind-the-scenes clips and pre-release promos, to drive traffic and subscriber numbers for their channels. She also said not to neglect the non-video elements of the YouTube page, including the clip’s title, description, tagging and thumbnail image, all of which should be optimized.
Dan Ghosh-Roy, Head of Digital Strategy at Ultra Music, which has over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, said labels should deputize their artists to drive fans to the platform. He said artists should favorite videos posted to the label’s channel and promote links to both their own channel and the official label channel among their fan base. Ultra is also vigilant about monetizing user-generated content that contains music from its artists, rather than attempting to police infringement, Ghosh-Roy said.
Indie Week concludes this evening with the second-annual Libera Awards at the Highline Ballroom in New York.