In these days of harsh economic realities the independent artist has to work harder than ever in the DIY world to make an impact or be taken seriously. Well not anymore. What if there was a way to test the market place by embracing the old school medium of radio to see what reaction you could garner from the market before you went all out and put it all on the line and released your album. There is and it’s a proven process that guarantees results. Now there is no crystal ball to look into in order to see the extent of your success but this brings it pretty close because it streamlines a once over complicated system.
Ikonic Artists has gone from strength to strength since it’s launch in the UK in July 2011. The global expansion has seen output deals signed with Converg TV for global broadcast, Write Stuff Music for international licensing, Music Samurai for local licensing, FX and A&E Cable channels for music supervision and a number of features including some Hollywood blockbusters that have yet to be released. Coupled with the release and distribution deal signed with Musik and Film in the US it seemed logical that the next step was to launch our own label with serious digital and physical distribution and point of sale press and advertising. Not since the launch of DEAD Famous Records back in 1995 where the label successfully ran an international roster of talent and partnered with Koch Music, Universal (USA) / Fontana / Universal (Canada), Genepool / Universal (UK), Iceberg / SPK / EMI (Europe) and MGM in Australia and New Zealand. The website did over 2 million hits in a 24 month period before we sold our brand and stock to Modular in NY. Coupled with our successful media and television arm we made a name that is still talked about today. Here we are at a cross roads in music (8) years down the track and we thought it was the perfect time to do it all again….. but with the right partners this time.
Ikonic Artists, the label boasts one of the most rewarding distribution platforms possible and offers real flexibility to artists to get it right the first time. The label is broken down into two strict areas of specific distribution. Digital and Physical. The digital component is handled by IN Grooves / Universal or The Orchard / Sony Music dependent on the genre of the release. Both are as strong as each other, both offer the same rate of return. The difference is that the Sony deal offers real back end transparency and quarterly accounting so artists get paid quicker. Once we have sold a proven quota of digital downloads a physical release of the product will be negotiated, packaged and distributed and these will be handled exclusively by Universal Records and Sony Music respectively. Talk about real clout to help you gain serious traction and generate real exposure. This deal also includes the whole Universal warehousing, standard sale on return principles and so should not be entered into lightly. We need to make damn sure that everything lines up properly from a marketing POV before we embark on the release of a physical CD to retailers.
Signing and Release Process
So how does it work? Well you have to have release ready professionally mastered product. My belief is that we test the market place and certain geographical regions with the release of a Digi Single to radio. The cost is minimal compared to other options available today and is completely recoupable before the 50/50 split of the returns on that one product and that product alone is due and payable. Best of all it’s cash matched by us to the dollar with the addition of other services including third party licensing, television clip inclusion and other broadcast and exposure mediums. All these are designed to create a rate of return to the artist. The label has access to over 15,000 radio stations worldwide and this is made up of both terrestrial AM /FM and internet streaming stations so coverage is extensive. The radio reporting can be as frequent as weekly but we believe that it is better to allow the penetration of the single to take hold so fortnightly reporting is the desired option. Press Releases issued will contain a DPK and streaming link to listen or to download the single. The conversion from viewing to click through based on a 20,000 eyeball spread is approx 10% and so that could easily result in single downloads and work toward recoupment of the radio spend. Based on the frequency of radio adds in conjunction with reported sales and increased media exposure will let us know fairly quickly what the likelihood of releasing the album will produce as far as potential returns. As stated once the radio promo has been recouped in full the split is 50/50 which is deemed both fair and reasonable unlike these bullshit 360 degree deals to nowhere. The moral of the story is why sign over the rights to your album if your single tanks… frankly we don’t want the album if we can’t make the singles work!
So let’s Get Started
Ikonic Artist Records is different and very much in tune with changing market trends. It has painstakingly waited for the Majors to screw themselves over for the indies to get so desperate for income that they have short changed their artists at every turn. I know because I am one of them and my own personal band, Dream Vampires is stuck in a rather shitty deal with a shitty NY label. So let’s break it down.
1. Send us your music, your (3) best 192k mp3’s, your bio in word format, a link to Reverbnation or your website and a pic
2. Our Artist Development team will review and evaluate to see if you have a radio single
3. An exclusive contract for (3) years will be issued to the contracting party and for that one or two singles only
4. Once signed, a $200 fee must be paid to cover the inclusion of all the Metadata information required for your release along with your PRO affiliation, publishing info and collection agency info. This fee is refundable after you reach $400 in sales.
5. You will receive a distribution list of needs and requirements including front cover artwork only at 1,500 x 1,500pix as well as an updated bio and any writers/publisher information to ensure that all revenues are equally shared to the legal rights holders.
6. A song is picked for a single and the FEE is paid. Once received a release date is scheduled
7. It takes approx 8-10 weeks to schedule a release with all Metadata, registration for sound scan and positioning with online retailers before you will see your release and can share the release information with FANS.
8. A week prior to release a comprehensive Press Release is drawn up and distributed via the many News Media wires available through our publicity arm.
9. Once released the single is serviced to global radio via an artist DPK (Digital Press Kit) Check this out for an example.
10. The stations that add the single to their playlist or to rotation will automatically be tracked into an updateable Xcel spread sheet that lists, station, location, genre and download or streaming date and will be sent to artists to quantify their position.
11. If the single is tracking successfully then digital sales will be imminent and the radio spend paid back. We recommend from past experience that an artist consider committing to releasing (2) singles to gauge the potential release of the album. If things are planned and executed properly then the returns from the first single should be able to finance the release of the second single and so forth.
12. Congratulations, your still in control and you have been validated as an artist.
So in order to play the game properly you need to work smarter and not harder. Don’t be fooled to think for one second that all that time you waste on updating your social networks hourly actually lends itself to a positive spin on your career. Instead you dilute your creative energy and find excuses not to step up to the plate and be recognised. In short your a sheep and not a shepherd… you don’t count and you don’t interest us. If your mature enough to get over the last comment and realise that an opinion is just an opinion then your ready to make contact and take stock of your career. Congratulations you’ve crossed the line and we want to talk to you.
Remember that it’s not about putting a CD on a shelf anymore in a retail store but rather to gain the attention of your FANS and supporters bv offering them value adds and a consistent profile of happening things to keep them interested and stimulated. So with that said to have your music effectively presented on both Amazon and iTunes for the sale component and Spotify for the streaming royalty component you have created a simple and no fuss destination for people to recognise who you are and to either listen to or buy your music. It’s that simple….
For further information
Please contact: Michael A Puskas