We had the pleasure of meeting Valentin, in charge of Artists & Content operations in Jamendo: the music platform that allows you to make your music heard internationally. He explained to us in more detail the issues of Jamendo, while taking the time to give his precious advice about music promotion.
You need to be available on platforms allowing you to connect with music-diggers, people ready to explore unknown content to discover emerging talents!
Can you quickly introduce Jamendo? When and how was the concept created?
Jamendo was founded in December 2004 by 3 French entrepreneurs. Their main idea was that every artist has the right to be heard. If you remember 2004, streaming wasn’t even a thing and YouTube would only be created a couple of months after. There weren’t many legal opportunities to promote and share your music with a receptive audience.
Jamendo was created to solve that problem: by assembling a community of both music creators and fans willing to discover the talents of tomorrow, we made it possible for thousands of DIY and independent artists to be heard and engage with fans. Anybody can come on Jamendo to upload music under a Creative Commons license, it’s completely free and non-binding. And it’s the same on the music fan side: anybody can come on Jamendo and create an account for free to start streaming and downloading new music.
Over the years, we’ve of course introduced and developed several monetization opportunities: sync placements, playlisting in In-Store background music selections in businesses around the world and YouTube Content ID.
As of now, we’ve got around 40,000 artists and more than 4 million registered users.
What’s your role in Jamendo?
I am running our Artist and Content operations, we’re a team of 3 people. To put it simply, on the artist side, I handle the relationships with our DIY artists and label partners. It encompasses communicating with them, creating educational content and making sure that all our artist operations and processes run smoothly. I think you can summarize my job through the following questions: how can our artists and labels be successful at using Jamendo? What else could we do for them or what could we improve to make their music exposure bigger and more profitable.
It’s obviously a team effort, we receive around 6,000 tracks on a monthly basis and the simple effort of listening to all of them so that we can be able to qualify our database is a full-time job for one person.
Who is the platform for? Can anyone sign up?
All creators are welcome on Jamendo: regardless of the music genre(s) you produce and regardless of your country and background, you can come on Jamendo and start uploading your creations. It’s free, non-binding and you keep all your rights.
Since the tracks you upload are uploaded under a Creative Commons license, you simply have to make sure that your Performance Rights Organisation (if you are with one) allows you to also publish your works under Creative Commons. It’s for example totally fine with SACEM in France.
Can you explain in more detail the concept of “free music”? How is this possible and how does it work on your platform?
Sure! That’s possible thanks to Creative Commons. Creative Commons can be understood as a way to regulate the relationship between a creator and the person using a creation. It’s a tacit agreement defining what can be done with your music.
We allow 6 different Creative Commons licenses, all of them granting different types of rights to the end-user. All of them will allow the user to freely stream and download the music for private listening purposes, but depending on the license you choose, this user may or may not be able to use your track in a commercial project or to synchronize it with multimedia content productions (videos, podcasts, etc.).
This allows our artists to easily find an audience. With it, it’s then easier to build your social media and Spotify pages.
Do you have examples of success stories from artists who used your platform?
We’ve got plenty!
If I had to pick up a recent example, I’d name CloZee. She started on Jamendo around 2012 and her music generated millions of streams. She has been immensely rewarded this year by being selected to be in the 2019 Coachella line-up.
We currently have talented artists like The Devil Music Co and Wordsmith, who are not only generating millions of streams on Jamendo but also taking up on Spotify, which lets us hope to best for them in the months to come.
I’m talking major successes here. But depending on the definition we apply to success; we also allow hundreds of artists to live thanks to the earnings they receive from us. And I think simply being able to make a living out of your art is the most beautiful success you can have.
What would be your advice for an artist who wants to promote his music?
A short question which cannot really be answered in a short way! Let me try to do my best on this one.I’d emphasize two key elements: Knowledge & Entrepreneurship!
Regardless of whether you’ve been producing music for 1 month or 10 years, make sure you’ve got a pretty thorough understanding of how the industry works. Learn what are the rights associated with one track and who is being paid for what. Make sure you understand what your PRO is paying you for, what your distributor is paying you for. Do the earnings you receive cover the full spectrum of your rights? If no, what can you do to make sure you can fill in this revenue gap? Once you’ve got this covered, make sure to define before-hand the splits between all the members of your band. Everything should be written down right at the start so that you can then focus on what matters: creating music and promoting it. If you understand the industry, you can experiment with various strategies to promote your music.
It’s a buzzword now and it’s not very original, but it’s true: at the early stages of your career, you need to be able to manage all the aspects of your career: from social media management to basic data analysis of your audience, from trying to organize gigs to contacting journalists and influencers, nobody will do it for you. And even if somebody does it for you, having basic knowledge of those fields will allow you to at least assess the quality of the work that is done. For all those aspects, there are hundreds of tools & start-ups providing services that will be of great help. Learn about them, play with them!
Taking those two elements into account, it’s very crucial you understand that simply putting your music on Spotify and on the other major streaming platforms isn’t a release strategy. When you start, the most important element is to start building a fan base. You won’t be building a fan base on those platforms for the simple reason that you’ll be almost invisible out there. You need to be available on platforms allowing you to connect with music-diggers, people ready to explore unknown content to discover emerging talents. Jamendo is one of them but there are others. Be on them. Build audiences there and redirect then your audience to your social media and Spotify pages.
And regardless of the number of fans you have, engage with them. Regularly. It’s never been as easy to produce music than in 2019, you’re competing with hundreds of thousands of other music creators. The way you manage your community and the quality of the relationship you can create with them will be key in whether or not fans will want to stick with you. I really think that artists should be looking more at the way streamers & YouTubers engage with their community. They are really good examples of how one can progressively make it one step after another.
There is honestly too much to say on this topic, but I think it’s a good start 🙂