On our journey to rewire the music industry, #stream2own is just the first step.
The player is still in Beta, but our team is working on a number of new functions to ensure that it becomes the best place hear new, independent music.
As Resonate continues to grow, our strategies can be broken down into two core areas. First, we are expanding our network and audience through #stream2own. Second, we plan to propagate a number of new services through our growing, extensive network of music lovers. These services and technologies are already in development.
Here, we'll take a look at why #stream2own is unique in its market, why that helps us expand, and what’s still to come.
No streaming service adequately serves the needs of artists, labels and listeners, but #stream2own does. Resonate is unique in that we simultaneously appeal to both sides of the music market: indie artists and labels who are underserved by existing services, and the listeners who love them.
Resonate's first and foremost goal is to support independent artists and labels.
SoundCloud is a direct artist-to-fan platform, and has established itself as a go-to for independent artists and emerging talent – but the platform has struggled greatly. In 2017, as 40% of their staff were laid off and a new CEO took over the struggling platform, many users seriously questioned its viability. These developments posed a big question to the independent music world: what platform could adequately support indie artists?
Major services like Spotify certainly wouldn't fill this role. Of course, there's the issue of royalty distribution, but the fact that Spotify is in the late majority stage of its growth means that it is moving away from features and functions that appealed to its early adopters.
This means that Spotify relies on its mass market appeal. In 2017, Spotify negotiated new licenses with major labels, which account for 85% of the platform's streams. So it's automatically incentivized to promote their catalogs above all else (as evidenced in the fact that major labels dominate playlists). While Merlin negotiated an "equitable" deal on behalf of independent labels, it's clear that this sector is not adequately supported. In fact, the platform doesn't care – Spotify is not targeting this section of the market.
Major streaming services are not supporting independent culture – not financially, and not culturally. #stream2own does.
On the other side of the streaming market are listeners. As we see in the infographic above, Resonate has the potential to become sustainable by appealing to a specific segment within the listener base: music super-fans.
These fans are the "top-tier connoisseurs of music" who "love music from a variety of genres and periods." They "tend to like independent music," and most importantly, "they're always listening and discovering."
This description summarizes our existing community of early adopters perfectly. For roughly a year, passionate music fans have been streaming thousands of high-quality tracks from all over the globe in our Beta player.
By continuing to grow our catalog, and by integrating new features that make listening and discovering appealing to super-fans, we have a definitive focus for who we’re reaching with this service.
These super-fans represent 14% of the music market, but account for 34% of total music consumption. Projections for total streaming revenue in 2017 showed that these super-fans would spend around $1.7B on streaming over the year, and so capturing just 1% of that market within the next two years would result in $1.4M in monthly revenues for Resonate.
We appeal to these listeners in a number of ways. These music lovers are inclined to seek meaningful, authentic sources for music discovery, so #stream2own is an alluring model. It also economically supports the artists that they love. Furthermore, Resonate prioritizes user privacy, and allows these listeners to share in ownership of the platform. Together, these features make Resonate uniquely attractive.
We've sketched out how Resonate appeals to both sides of the streaming market, but we are also implementing a number of more specific strategies to help us reach a broader audience.
Beyond the somewhat obvious scope as a SoundCloud or Bandcamp alternative for fully independent artists, our specific plan to grow the Resonate catalog focuses directly on indie labels. This represents a significant source for material, as they have a global market share of 37.6%. As of this moment, 710 independent labels have signed up. Working with them has led to significant insight into the needs of the independent sector.
The expansion plan on this front is fairly simple: continue nurturing direct relationships with key labels in the independent community. We are joining label associations such as VUT, AIM and A2IM (creating direct access to their thousands of contacts), as well as working with specific distributors in the independent space (making a significant boost to our catalog).
As our catalog expands, so will our user base. We will propagate embeddable players for blogs and curators, integrate with other startups and services, and expand features to help artists and fans connect.
Other key areas for growth will occur through partnerships with a diverse range of international co-operatives and social justice initiatives.
Peter Harris, Resonate’s founder, was directly inspired by the movement around decentralized technologies. In his words, they create: "a real possibility that we could embed democracy and justice into the very code that runs our systems. This could potentially create a solution to all of the problems with digital music distribution and corporate platforms we've seen over the last 20 years."
Given that the needs of independent artists extend far beyond #stream2own, it's evident that to support them further, we need to develop a more comprehensive infrastructure.
The music industry is plagued by many problems beyond inequitable royalty distribution. When it comes to managing metadata and licensing, or administering payments, the industry continues to struggle with various inefficiencies.
Artists also have trouble keeping up with the pressures placed on them to be active across many different platforms. Many are dependent on corporations such as Facebook, which pushes artists to pay for exposure, and fans to surrender personal information. Furthermore, such platforms hamper meaningful connections between artists and fans.
Resonate is working on a comprehensive infrastructure to address these issues. Blockchain technology offers many unique opportunities, so we're having many conversations with hardware and software manufacturers, industry associations and record labels on how to make use of them. Our strong user base will allow us to effectively deliver and propagate new services throughout the independent music world.
There's still much to be done, but we're thrilled about these opportunities. At the end of the day, our artist-first philosophy is the main motivation behind all of our strategies and tactics. If we can build the tools that artists need to succeed, then our success follows.
Articles detailing these strategies: