Biz: Interview w/ Emmanuel Zunz of ONErpm

Written by TJ Petracca Posted in: Biz on May 17, 2012

In a music landscape where more and more music is being sold digitally every year, it’s becoming increasingly important for artists to be familiar with all the digital distribution services out there. Making an informed decision on which service to use could actually have more of an impact on your wallet than you think. This week we interviewed Emmanuel Zunz, CEO and Founder of digital distro service ONErpm, to see what sets his company apart from its competitors. Give it a read to see if ONErpm might be the best option for you when it comes to placing your tunes in all the right online sales outlets.

Indie Ambassador: What sets ONErpm apart? Why should an artist choose you instead of one of the other digital distribution services out there?

ONErpm: Four things set us apart: (1) We offer the greatest number of music stores at the lowest price (2) We don't charge annual fees; (3) Greater flexibility: We give artists complete control over all aspects of how they want to distribute and sell their music globally (which territories, pricing, number of stores, free downloads, etc.) with the tools to do it; and (4) We work hard to promote artists to increase their sales.

Regarding this last point, we take a value-added approach to distributing music, meaning we actively pitch services like iTunes to promote releases that have sales potential. So if you're an artist that is starting to get traction and we see that you deserve a marketing push, we'll use our relationships to get involved. The idea being is that if you were going to sell 500 albums in one year, with us, you might sell 1000 or more as a result of a feature we pitched to iTunes. Yes, we keep 15% of royalties, but you still walk away with more money had you not had received that additional marketing push.

In summary, an artist will save money with us because we don't charge annual fees, and will make more money because we deliver to more stores and help promote releases.

Indie Ambassador: It seems as if one of the biggest differences between ONErpm and other music distribution services is the ability to sell your music directly on Facebook. Are artists and labels actually finding Facebook to be a viable place to sell their music these days?

ONErpm: It's still in the early days. Facebook has not yet become a music destination, despite the integration with the streaming services, but it’s still evolving. The idea behind the Facebook store is to capture impulse buys and give artists an easy way to promote their music as well as sell it, whereas many other apps are focused only on the promotion. In that sense our app is really a download store that is integrated with Facebook.

Indie Ambassador: Tell us more about your Facebook app. How does it integrate with timeline?

ONErpm: We have found the best way to integrate with timeline is to provide a variety of sharing options. Fans can easily share any album or track to their timeline. They can also share the artist's entire store (meaning the share links back to the store page, not to one specific album or track). We also offer a widget listeners can share on their timeline, and fans can comment on the releases, which automatically posts the album to their timeline. We have some additional sharing features that we have not rolled out yet, but one includes giving the customer the option of sharing the album after the purchase.

Another cool feature of the app is that all the artist stores are interconnected, so that a fan can jump from one artist page to the next and maintain items in their shopping cart. This allows us to build out a recommendation engine, suggesting new music to fans, thus boosting music discovery on Facebook. Finally, the app is very visible on an artist's page, such as in this example:

Indie Ambassador: Why do tracks sell for a maximum of $.89 cents through ONErpm instead of the typical $.99 found on other services? What is ONErpm’s cut?

ONErpm: We keep 15% of sales from our own store and from our Facebook app. I think pricing of digital music is constantly evolving, so we offer 3 different default price tiers for tracks, the lowest being at 49 cents. We can, however, accommodate higher pricing as well (99 cents and above) if necessary. We also allow artists and labels to offer their music for free in exchange for an email address.

Indie Ambassador: It seems like you guys have some useful tools and options for labels on ONErpm. How do you help and work with independent labels?

ONErpm: Our Facebook store app was really designed for labels. It allows labels to install as many stores as they want on Facebook, each configured differently, and manage everything from one place. For example, the Chicago Blues label Alligator Records has a Facebook store for their label page showcasing their entire discography, but they have also installed the ONErpm store for each of their artist pages. So in total they have over 50 different stores with us, one for each of their artists.

All of the features we offer indie artists are the same for labels. But we can work with labels that have large catalogs differently to ingest their content. We offer several different solutions to receive the music, so that labels don't have to manually submit metadata and upload music through the site.

Indie Ambassador: Does ONErpm have any particularly innovative partnerships with labels you can elaborate on?

ONErpm: Perhaps the most innovative partnerships we have are with digital distributors INgrooves Fontana and Virtual Label. Not only will we be powering their labels’ Facebook stores, but we will also begin distributing their content to digital music services in Brazil and Latin America like Sonora, UOL megastore, and mobile services. Sonora is the leading streaming service in Latin America. Now that we have an office in Brazil, our proximity to these services allows us to foster better relationships and maximize the potential of music coming from our label and distribution clients in the USA and Europe.

Indie Ambassador: Where do you see the music commerce landscape in five years? Will everything be digital?

ONErpm: I think there will always be demand for physical products, but they will be offered in limited quantities to die-hard fans, as collector items. The big question is will streaming overtake downloads. I'm not convinced that it will, because I think consumers still like to maintain ownership over their music collection they love, even if that equates to storing an MP3 on a hard-drive. But...I'm not getting any younger and new generations of music fans may not have that emotional attachment to "owning" music. And streaming services do an excellent job of giving the impression that you own the music that's in your account.

Indie Ambassador: Any exciting upcoming features you can tell us about?

ONErpm: Hmmm I think my CTO would kill me if I gave him more work....but, yes, we're looking to roll out a mobile app, in partnership with another company, sometime this summer. That's all I can say for now smile

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