SoundCloud is a contentious topic these days and one that has consistently been in the press and under fire, along with Spotify and Beatport.
As we settle into the chaos that is the music industry, there seems to be a lot of innovation to help artists/publishers, and one of those is Repost.
We got a chance to catch up with the founders to get a better understanding of our their platform can help people monetize their content on SoundCloud.
What is Repost?
Repost's mission is to enable musicians and podcasters to make a living through their audiences online, starting with SoundCloud. Repost aggregates artists on the platform by providing monetization, content protection, advanced profile features, and an analytics dashboard in exchange for a percentage of the ad revenue generated from the content. Since Repost's inception, it has grown in less than one year to be one of the largest independent SoundCloud Networks of which partners include RedBull Records, Waka Flocka Flame, Slightly Stoopid, AWOLNATION, Mayer Hawthorne, and 1000+ other high impact artists.
Additionally, Repost then syndicates higher performing content to platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and all other major online retailers, so no revenue slips through the cracks.
Repost is comprised of Jeff Ponchick, former head of EDM, Hip-hop, and record label partnerships at Fullscreen, and Joseph Mason - former Software Engineer at FreedomPop and DirecTV.
How did you start your career in the electronic music business?
Jeff: YouTube led me to the electronic music industry. Shortly after my first music start up, I ended up at a multi-channel YouTube network called Fullscreen. Not many people know this, but I started initially as a video editor. Through the company, I discovered my favorite YouTube channel Majestic Casual. It blew me away that a 20-year-old could create such a powerful brand by tapping into the curation experience that YouTube offered through playlists. It felt very disruptive. As if the future of music blogs were about to be flipped over on its head and pummeled into the ground. I knew I had to make a jump into the talent department to work with these channels.
I put my feet to the pavement, kept my eye on the prize and a few months later I was overseeing the electronic music, hip-hop, and record label partnerships for the company. I had clients like Porter Robinson, Majestic Casual, Tech N9ne, The Sound You Need, Xilent, and many more.
I decided to double down on Electronic music when I saw that SoundCloud was beginning to start their monetization initiative. SoundCloud has almost the same amount of self-published / self-composed content that YouTube does while having only a fraction of the userbase. Not to mention the majority of the artists were not distributing or protecting their music beyond SoundCloud. We started Repost to represent these up and coming artists and to help them make a living through their audiences online.
Joey: When I was in my last year of college, I co-founded an electronic music blog called "The Tugboat." From there, I began writing about music and covering events in LA while finishing up my computer science degree. Eventually, my co-founder and I decided to shut down the blog, but by that time I had a thorough understanding of the electronic music blog world, live events, and the importance of social media. I also realized that I wanted to apply tech in a meaningful way to the music industry. When the opportunity to be the technical co-founder of Repost presented itself, I dove in head first.
What is the best part of the business?
Joey: On the consumer-facing side of things, there have been a lot of amazing innovations by music tech companies. Napster pioneered file-sharing. SoundCloud was one of the first web applications to offer continuous playback as a single page application. However, on the less-sexy side of the business (e.g. distribution, publishing, content protection), there are a lot of opportunities to innovate and disrupt. At Repost, it's been fun to introduce a tech startup mindset to parts of the industry that traditionally haven't been exposed to that.
Jeff: I love how technology fuels the electronic music community. I swear I get more business done through places like Facebook chat than email, and it has lead to us partnering with artists all over the world. When I hear a Repost artist in Serbia has started a record label with a collective based in Toronto, and we were the ones to make the initial introduction, I can’t help but feel good to connect the dots.
What are the biggest challenges?
Joey: I'm constantly amazed at how complicated the music industry is regarding publishing and ownership rights. Jeff and I often joke that you need to have a law degree to understand all of it. At Repost, we are trying to use our tech to simplify all of this, but at times, it can be overwhelming.
Jeff: What he said ^
What career advice would you recommend to someone just starting off?
Joey: Career success, in my opinion, is all about hard work and knowing the right people. This is particularly the case in the music industry. If you want to break in, make it your personal mission to understand all the ins and outs of the industry, especially regarding how money is made. I'd highly recommend reading Donald Passman's "All You Need to Know About the Music Business." Read lots of music blogs so that you can stay current with what is happening in the industry. If you have the right personality for it, offer to manage one of your musician friends who is just starting out. Start your own blog or reach out and offer to write for an existing one.
As the EDM industry continues to grow, what do you think the secrets to longevity in this business will be?
Joey: EDM is nothing without the musicians that make the music. I think the secret to sustainability and survival is the ability for these musicians to make a living off of their craft so that they can reinvest in themselves and continue to make high-quality content.
Jeff: Not accepting complacency. Skrillex might have been popularized through dubstep, but he is dynamic as an artist. Each release and production are different from the next. If the artists, promoters, labels, brands, etc. can continue to push the boundaries of music production and the live event space, I believe we’ll see the industry flourish for a long time to come.
If you weren’t in the music biz, what would you be doing?
Jeff: I would probably have continued as a video editor.
Joey: I would be a software engineer at a startup somewhere in LA or SF.
Where do you see the most innovation in the EDM industry (i.e. Music, experience, nightclubs, behind the scenes, etc.) and why?
Jeff: Technology has had more of an impact on music business than almost any other industry. While entities like Napster and other p2p services ended up hurting the traditional industry in the early 2000’s, the new emphasis on music tech seems to be to re-building music into an entirely new beast. Companies are finding ways to allow for un-official remixers to monetize their bootlegs, equity crowdsourcing has entered allows investors to own in the upstreaming of artists, and services like Repost (shameless self-promotion here) allow for artists and labels to acquire revenues that have slipped through the cracks. I’m excited to see how the tech-focused music lovers choose to rebuild the industry.
Joey: I think the biggest driver of innovation, not just in the EDM industry, but in the music industry in general, is the rise of streaming as the primary mode of consumption for listeners. It’s going to be fascinating to see how it all plays out.