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Interview: Producer Sound Remedy on YouTube Revenue Collection

Venice Beach-based producer Anthony Howell AKA Sound Remedy blends an array of beats, genres and synth sounds to create electronic music that surpasses expectations and makes people move. Between remixes and originals, Sound Remedy has enjoyed mass exposure on YouTube thanks to his own channel and others’. He’s reached #1 on Hype Machine’s charts on numerous occasions and has acquired plenty of touring experience.

Sound Remedy is the perfect example when discussing the power of user generated content on YouTube: videos using his music have seen over 150 million views! By partnering with TuneCore, he’s now able to collect revenue on those videos when ads are placed on them. In our interview, Sound Remedy explains how key YouTube relationships, a liberal sharing/’open content’ strategy, and TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection play into his success as an independent artist:

Tell us a little bit about how your career has been progressing over the past few years as you’ve shifted away from remixes to originals.

Sound Remedy: Remixes are incredible opportunities for exposure because you’re taking an already good song and putting your own twist on it. Unfortunately, the internet has become a lot stricter on remixes. Switching over to originals has helped me because owning your own content can be a lot more lucrative then taking others and reworking it. It’s also important as an artist, to define your sound and this process is a lot more effective with original content.

As an independent artist, what social platform do find yourself using the most, and why?

I’m not tied to any specific social platform at this point. I would say I am more tied to the entire distribution and experience platform that is “the internet.” The problem with sticking to any one platform is the fact that platforms change unpredictably over time. For instance, Facebook just terminated the “Like to Download” functionality which was a vital part of the growth of my career.

The best strategy is to spread your brand onto as many relevant platforms as possible. You want your fans to be able to find you on whatever they use and because everyone is different, this strategy is the most optimal. All this being said, I believe SoundCloud is the most important platform for my brand specifically because that platform focuses solely on the music content itself.

Regardless you boast pretty impressive numbers on both Twitter & Facebook. What kind of advice do you have for indies looking to build their social communities?

First, you need to make sure that every social network you have links the other social networks. For instance, your Facebook should have links to Twitter, Instagram, etc. and vice versa. You want to make yourself as discoverable as possible. I used the “like to download” functionality (which no longer exists) to grow my network. When you’re first starting out, the path to take is to flood the internet with extremely high quality content and incentivize sharing and following actions in exchange for that content. Even though “Like To Download” doesn’t exist, there is still tweet and follow to download applications which should definitely be utilized. It’s also important to get your music on the blogs (another vital part of my career).

Develop concrete relationships with blogs; NEVER spam them. It’s best to send them targeted content via their ingestion platforms and be as personalized as possible, (nobody wants to feel like just another contact on an email list serve).

Where does YouTube rank in terms of how you interact with your fans?

To be completely honest, I haven’t taken YouTube extremely seriously until now. People have always just naturally uploaded my content to YouTube and it has amassed tens of millions of plays over the years. I never looked at that as a way to make money, but now that I’m releasing original content everything has changed. I think there is one very important fact about YouTube that everyone forgets: it’s the biggest music streaming platform in the world. SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify are my three main focuses at the moment in terms of streaming platforms.

How do you use YouTube when it comes to sharing new music, connecting with your fans, and reaching new listeners? 

I use YouTube to upload my music, music videos, live performance content, and also to promote my upcoming tours. I also use it to premier various songs.

Do you encourage the use of your music in user-generated videos on YouTube? In what ways have you seen this being done?

I encourage people to upload my music and I also tell them that I won’t ever issue a “take down” request on them. However, there is a lot deeper principle at play here. The goal is to create content which is high enough in quality that people want to share it. If you can create songs that are good enough, the entire process will happen naturally and organically. Also, let’s look at a case study for artists and management teams who have been liberal about the sharing and remix process. Lana Del Rey and Band of Horses both have teams behind them who “get it.” I’ve remixed both these bands (without their permission) and the respective streams have generated over 25,000,000 views or more. Both of these artists gain new fans from the exposure that I give them, and they can also make money by monetizing the streams on YouTube. Take this principle into consideration when other people remix and upload your own work to their channels.

The single worst thing you can do is to have a “closed content” strategy in which you enforce that your music can only be experienced on platforms that you control; this will vastly undercut your gross revenue earning potential for too many reasons to even list.

What would you say the ratio of revenue collected from your YouTube channel versus others that use your music is?

My YouTube channel currently only has 18,000 subscribers and 2,200,000 views. The amount of views from other people using my music on YouTube is between 50,000,000 and 150,000,000. I only started collecting revenue from the other section of YouTube two months ago. So far I’ve seen month over month revenue increases from that section of 500% and as I ingest more songs I expect extremely rapid growth. At this current section of time (November’s earnings report) I earn 20% of my revenue from my channel as opposed to other people using my music on their channels. However, the revenue growth on my YouTube channel is only about 3% to 7% month over month.

Since I began using TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection service, I have seen 500% revenue growth month over month on the other channels. Based on a few calculations and the fact that I am submitting more songs to the service, I expect this revenue to grow between 500% and 1,500% month over month for the next two months. In about three months, the amount of money that I earn from my own channel verses others will most likely be less than 5%.

How do you see YouTube impacting the way people consume music in the next 10 years or even further into the future?

The music industry is undergoing a lot of changes. We’ve seen physical/digital music sales steadily decreasing while the streaming market is growing over 50% year over year. YouTube is currently the biggest streaming platform so it’s important. YouTube is only one piece of puzzle, I think the entire streaming market is going to continue to grow and should therefore be made a priority for all artists.

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How has TuneCore helped you in your musical journey? 

TuneCore has helped me get to a point where I am no longer reliant on touring to make money, and for that I am very grateful. I can now maintain my lifestyle in Venice Beach solely from the royalties I earn on the service and from music licensing and synchs.

Would you recommend using TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection service to other independent artists? 

I would 100% recommend TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Recording revenue collection to other independent artists. There is money being left on the table so let TuneCore go out and collect it for you!

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