ONErpm is a platform of distribuition, selling and sharing music over the Internet. Emmanuel Zunz, its CEO, is in Sao Paulo to open the company’s office in Brazil and Latin America. Zunz, in this interview, speaks about national and international music market, gives tips to aspiring artists on how to distribute their music and the future of this niche with emerging platforms.
What exactly is ONEprm?
ONErpm is a digital music distribution and social commerce platform. We deliver music to the top music stores and streaming services in the world like iTunes, Spotify, Sonora, Rdio, etc. and allow artists to sell direct to their fans, or even give their music away for free in exchange for an email address, on Facebook.
Are you in Brazil? Are you leading a project or something like that here?
Yes I’m in Brazil. I came to open the ONErpm office in Sao Paulo and hire the team to lead the charge here in Brazil and Latin America.
Based on your experience, can you tell us a little about when artists should give away their music or when to sell it and get it?
Yes, I’ll address some of it here, although this is a big/important subject that requires a thoughtful essay and suggestions, perhaps more than I can say in just a few sentences. I will start by saying that all artists, no matter what stage or level of their career, must always give some of their music away for free to their fans. This is a reality. However, you shouldn’t give ALL your music away and when you do give your music away, you should do so in an organized manner so that you know WHO is downloading your music. At the end of the day, you have to build a career and the best way to do that is grow a dedicated fan base and know as much as you can about them.
What I don’t like in Brazil today, and what I think needs to be changed, is that when artists/bands give their music away, they don’t do so in an organized manner and they are hurting themselves in the process, and reducing the value of their art. What I see most artists doing today is once the album is ready, their only distribution strategy is to to upload it on sites like rapidshare and send the link out to their friends/fans, or have . In my opinion this is the wrong thing to do because at the very least you could be getting an email address in exchange for that download, allowing you to build a deeper relationship with that fan in the long run. ONErpm gives you the tools to do this, but we’re not the only service. There are also other options….you can allow fans to donate money, or name their price, to download their music. Maybe a fan WANTS to pay $5 reais for a download….
Here are my quick tips/suggestions:
1. If you are a brand new band or artist, it’s important to make your music available for fee, but in an organized fashion that allows you to build your fan base. You should also couple this strategy with a good overall distribution strategy and make sure your music is available on the biggest music services in the world, which are great for music discovery and getting new fans, while also allowing you to earn money.
2. If you are an established band or artist, you should also give some of your music away, but much less frequently, and do so for special occasions, like a pre-release of a single before the full album is launched, or as a special version of the song to your biggest and/or most dedicated fans. Giving music away can be great marketing, or can be terrible marketing, it all depends how you choose to give it away and when. The differences in approach will have a big role in the evolution of your career.
How do you evaluate the situation of Brazilian music in the international scene?
I think people love Brazilian music internationally, but they still don’t know it very well. They still think of Brazilian music as Bossa Nova or Samba, and they are not that familiar with the depth of sounds Brazil has to offer. I believe this will change as Brazil continues to grow economically and Brazil has a bigger role internationally.
What Brazilian artists can do to be recognized internationally, in you opinion?
An interesting strategy is to collaborate with other artists in the USA, Europe, etc. ONErpm works with a lot of international aritsts. One of them, Blitz the Ambassador, originally from Ghana but also living in Brooklyn, collaborated with lots of great musicians, including BNegao from Brazil, and that seemed to help build his exposure in some key markets. And of course, he used ONErpm for his global music distribution so his music could be available everywhere, which is the best decision he ever made (LOL)!
For the first time in the UK, music downloads now outsell CDs. Can you see downloads become a significant source of revenue for independent Brazilian artists?
Yes, absolutely, and in fact, we’re already seeing it. Since iTunes has launched in Brazil, we’ve seen our digital music sales more than triple. We’re also seeing significant revenues from streaming services, such as Sonora. I believe that when iTunes starts accepting Brazilian reais and Brazilian credit cards, we’ll see an even greater explosion of digital music consumption.
Can you recommend any online tools or services to help promote Brazilian music and help stimulate sales?
Aside from ONErpm, I also like onesheet.com because it looks nice and pulls all the information from a number of sources, allowing you to display your music in a clean, elegant way and link to iTunes. I also like official.fm because they have great widgets. Headliner.fm offers an interesting platform where other artists help promote you. Gumroad is a new direct-to-fan platform that we also like. These platforms are universal and address the needs of all artists, not only Brazilian.
Do you foresee YouTube becoming an import source of revenue?
More music is streamed on Youtube than anywhere else in the world. It’s also where most people discover new music. I think the potential is significant but it will ultimately depend on how the content is monetized and how people get paid.
As well as online distribution, will you be moving into synchronisation?
Yes, we already have some partnerships with Modiba and YB Music in NYC and Sao Paulo respectively, but this is an area where we would like to grow internally as well.