Haulix is a music promo and watermarking service that provides indie labels and publicists with a great tool for preventing leaks and piracy via promo tracks. Watermarks are inserted upon download that identify the individual, for example, if they then share tracks meant only for them in a professional capacity. It appears to be cutting down on leaks including those that can happen inadvertently via reviewers sharing tracks with friends. Soon Haulix will expand their service by adding DMCA takedowns.
Haulix was launched in 2009 by CEO Matt Brown. Yesterday I spoke with Brown and he told me he came up with the idea based on his experiences at MetalReview.com (now Last Rites). He also discussed those early days in detail in 2011 for Dotted Music.
It used to be that Metal Reviews would get all sorts of CD submission in their po box that was always overflowing when he'd go to get mail. This overflow of physical promo materials led to thoughts of a digital promo service with the recognition that it needed to address piracy in such forms as promo tracks being shared by reviewers.
Brown admits that the early Haulix was not a great product but he and his partner dived in, listened to feedback and continued to improve things with a focus on digital distribution of promo tracks and albums, watermarking to identify individuals if they download rather than stream the tracks and analytics to follow one's progress with campaigns.
Watermarking is a key feature in that it is said not to affect the music but can actually be detected even on tracks that are recorded off speakers and then reposted online.
Brown says people have been identified as sharing tracks they accessed in confidence for review and, as word has gotten around, folks reviewing submissions from labels seem to recognize the situation. Haulix has kept its early customers and they're now seeing less requests to identify sources of leaks than in the past.
Here's the basic process from the Haulix site:
How it Works
1. Upload your tracks and manage your contact lists.
2. We create a private web page for each of your promos.
3. Send email invitations that have a unique link we generate for each recipient.
4. Press contacts stream or download your music and we inject inaudible watermarks to deter leaking.
5. Use your dashboard and reports to track progress.
The pricing is clearly for indie labels and publicists with multiple clients. Watermarking is only available at $89 a month.
Haulix looks like a very useful service and soon it will be more complete with the addition of scanning for pirated music and issuing appropriate DMCA takedowns on behalf of rightsholders.
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.