DistroKid has launched a “matchmaking service,” Upstream, for artists who are seeking record-label deals.
DistroKid founder Philip Kaplan recently unveiled this artist-label “matchmaking service.” The “free, optional, 100% artist-friendly” service is currently available to creators who use the eight-year-old distribution platform, which is also accepting applications from record labels (indie and major) that’re interested in discovering new acts.
Building upon the latter point, the announcement message notes that DistroKid decided to develop Upstream due to the large number of requests it receives from artists who’re looking to sign with major labels, as well as the many inquiries it gets from label higher-ups who’re in search of independent talent.
That said, the text also indicates that Upstream’s overarching “goal is to give artists power over record labels” by amplifying competition between these companies and, in turn, helping creators to secure “better, artist-friendlier terms than would otherwise be possible.” (As an aside, the article mentions “that one-third of all new music in the world is distributed by DistroKid, from millions of artists.”)
DistroKid will “individually” vet the labels that submit Upstream applications, and in order to join the service, said labels “must display a proven track-record of success helping artists achieve greatness.” UMG’s Republic Records is the “inaugural” Upstream participant, though the prominent distributor intends to “announce many more labels soon.”
On the fine-print side, the post states that artists aren’t “giving up any rights or signing anything away” when opting into Upstream – creators are opted out by default – but will “privately” share their contact info, streaming stats, and music links with participating labels.
Upon finalizing a contract with an Upstream act, the label at hand will pay DistroKid “a small finder’s fee,” according to the message. Labels will contact artists directly, without DistroKid acting as a middleman, the text proceeds, and artists can remove themselves from Upstream “with the click of a button.”
Finally, DistroKid has signed hip-hop producer and former G.O.O.D. Music COO Che Pope “to architect & lead DistroKid Upstream.” The two-time Grammy winner Pope has production credits on tracks from RZA, The Weeknd, Eminem, Christina Aguilera, and an array of other high-profile artists.
Earlier this month, DistroKid made headlines for offering a counter-notification process to artists whose tracks were removed from Spotify for alleged artificial-stream violations. The Stockholm-based platform pulled down hundreds of thousands of songs as part of the purge – but some of the impacted artists denied having used a third-party service to inflate their stream totals and called for Spotify to reinstate their music.