DistroKid has unveiled Upstream, a new product that provides record labels and artists looking to be signed with a new method to find each other.
Upstream allows artists using DistroKid to automatically share their streaming data (if they opt in) with approved record labels. Republic Records, home to Ariana Grande, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and others, is the first label announced to participate in Upstream.
Upstream is free for members of the independent music distributor. It does not take any rights or earnings from artists, and there is no obligation to opt in.
"Millions of artists rely on DistroKid and often ask for help getting noticed by record labels," said DistroKid founder and CEO Philip Kaplan. "And record labels have approached us about finding efficient ways to identify talent in the DistroKid community. With demand on both sides, it made sense to play matchmaker. And by forming a relationships with the industry’s leading labels, DistroKid artists are able to identify potential partners who can accelerate their careers."
DistroKid has hired music industry veteran Ché Pope to head the new Upstream initiative. Pope previously served as A&R at Warner Music, and was COO at Kanye West's record label, GOOD. Music. A Grammy-winning producer, Pope has worked with Lauryn Hill, Eminem, Teddy Riley, Dr Dre, Hans Zimmer, ASAP Rocky and The Weeknd.
In his role at DistroKid, Pope will work closely with the labels that join Upstream, and act as an advocate for artists who opt in.
“Ché is a visionary with unparalleled experience and insight as an artist, label exec, and technologist," said Kaplan. “He will be hugely valuable to Upstream label clients, and his foresight into helping artists get a fair deal is trailblazing. Ché is awesome.”
Pope said: "Philip and his team have built DistroKid into a phenomenon that more than two million unsigned artists rely on, with thousands more joining every day. For those artists who want to be noticed, Upstream provides a powerful way to connect with record labels. For labels, Upstream opens a window into a cache of data that can help identify promising artists early in their career. I believe this will be a game-changer for both artists and record labels and I couldn't be happier that a world-class label like Republic Records will be our inaugural partner."
Avery Lipman, founder & president, Republic Records, said: “Republic’s track record of discovering and investing in artists and developing them into global names is unparalleled. Upstream provides us with artist insights we can combine with existing sources of data and insights to cast an even wider net with respect to identifying great emerging talent. However, data only gets you so far and our success has been based on our unique ability to identify passion and translate that into worldwide creative and commercial success for our artists. We look forward to working with Philip, Ché, and the team at DistroKid to identify a new vanguard of superstars together.”