ONErpm Brings Democratic Distribution, Tech Savvy, and a Keen Ear for Global Sounds to the Digital Music Market
Meet Marcelo D2. His samba-powered hip hop made him a seminal figure on Brazil’s thriving music scene. His success won him record deals from international major labels, plenty of money, and a strong fan base. Yet his albums aren’t on iTunes.
Enter ONErpm.com (ONE Revolution People’s Music), a global digital distribution solution and direct-to-fan (D2F) store for independent musicians and labels worldwide. While focusing on getting more money into the hands of talented musicians from São Paulo to Mumbai, ONErpm also aims to connect Western artists to new digital music frontiers like Brazil and the rest of Latin America, and other large Emerging Markets like India and South Africa.
Marcelo D2’s digital absence — along with that of many other hot and edgy hit makers coming out of musical hotspots like Colombia and Mexico—surprised Emmanuel Zunz, founder of Verge Records, a social enterprise and Grand Prize Winner of the 2006 NYU Business Plan Competition. Zunz discovered that D2 was far from alone: “The vast majority of artists in Brazil and Latin America have no digital distribution. Even artists whose entire careers have been on major labels,” Zunz explains.
To make matters worse, as legacy labels go belly up and physical distribution dies a slow death, artists in emerging markets without digital distribution often face having no commercial outlet for their music at all. Zunz, along with co-founders internet music pioneer Matt Olim (former CTO and co-founder of CDNow) and global music guru Dmitri Vietze (founder and owner of the music publicity firm rock paper scissors, inc.), created a solution to this dilemma: a one-stop, easy-to-use platform providing artists global digital distribution, direct-to-fan sales, and international promotion.
Having already launched in Brazil last August, ONErpm distributes to all the major web and mobile stores in Brazil and Latin America, and represents some of the top acts and labels in the region, including Systema Solar (Colombia), Autoramas (Brazil), and Xitaozinho and Xororo (Brazil). The company has also secured major marketing and affiliate partnerships with the largest music cooperatives and web portals in Brazil.
“Our operations in Brazil and Latin America are growing,” states Zunz. “We launched there first because we recognized a need. We believe American artists will also appreciate the service’s features, the flexibility and ease of use of the platform, and the many distribution options and choices we offer.”
Once signed up, artists gain access to a suite of digital music services, such as iTunes and eMusic, and get paid 90% of royalties. They can also publish their music to the ONErpm store for free and earn 70% of sales. Musicians can choose from three price tiers for their tracks and access a wide array of options for distributing and selling their music: selecting stores a la carte, defining their territories; making their music available for pre-orders prior to their release date; enabling creative commons licensing; and offering free promotional downloads in exchange for an email address.
In the spirit of keeping things global, yet locally relevant, ONErpm has a localization feature that not only enables customization in multiple languages (English, Portuguese, and Spanish so far), it provides prices in the user’s local currency and can block content from being accessed in different countries based on an album’s territorial exclusions.
“Artists don’t want to worry about technical details,” says Olim. “We designed the website to make it easy for artists to release their music quickly, both to our own store or the big name services.” One example of this ease is the upload process, which allows the customer to queue a bunch of tracks while simultaneously editing the track information, or even letting it run unattended, a helpful feature for slower internet connections. Once the upload is complete artists can preview their album in the ONErpm store before it goes live, providing a sense of how their album will appear in other stores, as well.
On the ONErpm store, fans enjoy full-track uninterrupted streaming and can opt for CD-quality downloads (.wav files) in addition to free MP3s when they make a purchase. Album prices start at US$4.99. “You’re getting something more for your money,” Zunz says, “high-quality audio files, and free MP3s for your mobile device.”
ONErpm ultimately aims to engage listeners and encourage exploration of innovative bands. “We want to be more than a delivery truck that picks up and drops off music,” Zunz exclaims. “We want to promote artists who are drawing lots of traffic and pitch our distribution partners to feature acts that are proving to be really hot.” Through several partnerships with sync licensing companies in both the US and Brazil, ONErpm also helps artists get their music placed on film, TV, and video games. “We’re always on the lookout for new business opportunities for our artists,” affirms Vietze.
By uniting tech, business, and promotional savvy, ONErpm is already proving to be a promising new service that brings cutting-edge international artists to market, while expanding the boundaries of digital music distribution into new growth markets around the world.
For more information and to sign up fore free: bit.ly/1rpmIAA