Music Kickup Fully Launching At Midem With Free Digital Music Distribution

MKS_avatarMusic Kickup began as Music Kickstarter, soon changing the name and launching what was described as a "cloud based record label." Last month they closed their Beta program and are launching their full service in February at Midem. One part of that launch includes a free distribution service to digital music stores including iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Deezer. Sign up now to be in on developments.

Music Kickup currently states on their homepage and in a blog post titled "Beta Testing Done":

"When we started Music Kickup we wanted to re-envision how musicians can work, collaborate, sell music and do business in the 21st century. Focus on how to really impact and advance careers – structure all parts into a cohesive product that just makes sense. We want to go to 11."

"We’ve been working with thousands of artists for the past two years to materialize the vision we’ve had. We’re ecstatic that we can finally say 'we’ve nailed it!'…"

"The upcoming service will be the ultimate tool for musicians, managers and indie labels – we can’t wait to show it to you and get you building your career with us."

They also state that, in the interim, they're promoting Music Kickup Distribution, which they describe as the "worlds first 100% free digital distribution service to most major digital music stores."

So though the Midem announcement seems to focus on the distribution service, that's just one part of what Music Kickup's new artist service will be.

Submission to digital music stores is one of many digital services that is gradually becoming commodified. That process not only leads to low-cost options like DistroKid but free options as expected features of larger offerings.

For example, during Tunezy's development, they eventually included ecommerce services for free with musicians simply covering PayPal transaction fees.

In this case, the larger Music Kickup service is being teased with free distribution. In one sense this could simply be viewed as a freemium offering, giving something away for free with premium features to follow, but it also sounds like a free feature that is designed to be part of the larger service, one on which the rest of the service is built.

In any case, Music Kickup seems well worth watching.

For more on the early days:


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. So is it a label or a distributor? As for Free there is nothing in the music biz that turns out to be free and makes the artists money. However many of these services seem to be making the companies offering it quite well off. #Justsayin

  2. Hmmm their video says absolutely nothing and their FAQ try to answer how it can be free without answering their very own question!
    How do such service set up a band with “the right people”? 99% sure it will never be a success, as they promise way more than is possible (you cant give everyone the “perfect” opportunity).

  3. As with any other new distribution service coming up, I congratulate Music Kickup on their starting success. However, one thing I have to note is that they claim they are the “world’s first 100% free distribution service”. This is false as I’ve invented that amount over 5 years ago (from another distribution company I’ve founded).
    Believe me, a model like that is extremely unsustainable. While it will attract a substantial amount of users (I mean who doesn’t want 100% royalties for free). The fact remains is that this business model doesn’t provide the company a sustained business and provides the worst security for artists.
    Distribution is a business, not an act. Aggregators need to rely on certain models to generate revenue. Any revenue-generating distribution service will provide a sense of security for its users because the key is to stay in business for the long-haul.
    In order for this company to truly make money around the “100% Free” they would have to generate a HUGE amount of revenue from outside sources that will backup the service. Otherwise, its going to be an epic fail.
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  4. Actually Kevin makes some very good point. The first is that Distribution is not something that is free it’s something that happens that moves content from generators of it — to consumers of it and no other industry in the world offers free distribution. Since Distribution is Everything #DiE marginalizing it is a disservice to artists/bands/label trying to make a living in the business.

  5. Nelson:
    The third-party aggregate model has been leaking millions every year away from the industry. These companies have no reason to return the money back to rotation.
    The fact that a crucial point of the industry is being handed out to the content owners is a massive service to the industry, as it returns these profits back into the creative rotation.
    It’s always fun to see your comments.
    You’re stating the obvious – naturally no company without a business model can survive.
    As we last chatted I’ll restate – we have a big offering coming up with a multi-faceted business model. We’ve always focused on the how the creative industry could do better and building the best possible products to achieve that. For us it’s not about optimizing profit margins, it’s about making sure the outcome has the greatest effect.
    Naturally the distribution service creates costs, but it has been built with being free in mind – so everything has been from get go optimized to the max. Also every cost structure has been constantly monitored and incurred into other parts of our company revenue.
    Everyone will be welcome to come and chat with us at MIDEM. There we will unveil the full service, it’s agenda and it’s business model.
    Antti Silventoinen
    Music Kickup

  6. Hi Antti,
    Great that you can respond. However, and again we’re going back to our last talk at DMN. You’ve yet to really explain in detail what this “multi-facet business model” really is and how exactly that will generate enough revenue to offset the “100% free” distribution cost.
    All you’re telling me is “We have this huge multi-business model, we’re planning on making tons of money from it, which is why we don’t need money for digital distribution”. I’m guessing we’ll all find out at MIDEM.
    I understand you’re not looking for profit margins. However, you have to ensure that the model you will be unveiling will be well-adapted by the users. Whatever your business model is, you’ll have to generate massive (and I mean MASSIVE) amounts of revenue in order for the model to work.
    Especially, if you’re projecting to scale the service to a TuneCore-like user adoption. In fact, your revenues would have to be at least 5x the size of TuneCore if you want to truly maintain the model.
    Nevertheless, I wish you the best of luck on the launch and welcome to the space.
    Kevin Rivers
    CEO, Venzo Digital

  7. Why do they send out a newsletter with all the text as an image? The first impression was really bad – especially because of the big promises and the little explanations. Nothing is free. Not facebook, not google, not bandcamp – nothing.
    Is there some kind of quality control? will those services get polluted with really crappy music, just because it’s possible to be on spotify for free? (beside the fact that music is a matter of taste)
    I am as skeptic as the people who commented here earlier.

  8. I was at MIDEM and attended their various presentation.
    First, these guys have money, a lot, at least enough to pay for a big stand at MIDEM and run several ‘sponsored’ presentation sessions.
    Where is the money coming from? Why burning so much cash before even launching anything? No idea what the strategy is.
    Then their business model is highly questionable: they used the ‘free distribution’ trick as an appealing offer for getting people subscribe to the service.
    They now have a huge database (they said 60,000) of emails/people eagerly waiting for something to happen.
    So I asked them what their business model was.
    Embarrased answer….’ahum we sell apps later on”.
    The reality is they will try to sell a yearly subscription fee for so called promotional services (a set of ‘tools’ allowing you to ‘promote’ your music by posting stuff to FB/Twitter, sending mass mailing…etc., something that is already available for free through various existing services).
    Then they also have this thing ‘album as an app’ which has already proven not to work at all (a lot of companies tried this, nobody is interested in such things).
    Well, at least they are good marketers, have an aggressive strategy and it may do the trick for some time.
    So, good luck, and let’s see where they are in 2 years from now.

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