Indie Music

Stem Is A New Kind Of Record Label, Which Is Good News For Artists

Traditional record label deals receive a lot of (often deserved) flack in the music industry, but a new “label” calling itself Stem could be offering a new, better option for artists looking to distribute and collect royalties on their music.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

There’s no point ragging on record label deals because everyone already knows the stories or has experienced the pain. Suffice it to say that the majority of artists don’t have a great experience, especially when it comes to their pocketbook. A relatively new artist service called Stem has all the traits of a record label without many of the downsides associated with major labels.

Stem doesn’t call itself a record label, but it’s not really just a service either. It provides custom distribution, personal attention, royalty collection, and a quick 30 day royalty payout. It allows you to upload and release your music within 5 days (it’s usually 2 weeks with a normal digital distributor), allows you to set up royalty splits, and provides revenue tracking data. And you continue to own your masters and publishing too. One thing it doesn’t provide that a normal label does is promotion, which can be critical to an artist that’s starting out (all Stem artists already earn regular income).

What brings Stem even closer to label territory is a new royalty advance program called Scale. This allows you to get an advance on future earnings and pay it back as a percentage of your income. Unlike a loan, there’s not fixed amount to pay back each month – the payment is a percentage based on what you earn so you’re never out of pocket. Even better, the company has $100 million in funds ready to advance.

Scale is for artists that are already earning money online, so you can’t be a total newbie to the business. If you are earning regular dough, you can get a chunk of money that you might need for touring or recording without resorting to crowdfunding or getting a loan. And you’ll enjoy all the other features that Stem has to offer.

Check out Stem and Scale. You can even figure out how much money you can advance and see how you’ll pay it back with their easy online calculator. It might be a better fit for you than going the label route.

Share on:


  1. STEM isn’t a label, actually. They are a distributor that has been around since 2015 and saw a need in the marketplace for artists who need funding. So they created a company called SCALE that offers flat rate advances to artists who have some streaming income already. The advances do NOT attach to masters or publishing (but it could kill your credit if you can’t pay them back). They aren’t a payday advance company in that the artist knows exactly what amount needs to be paid back and they can chose to pay back the advance with 50% or 75% of their streaming income. This is great for artists who spend those advances on boosting their show I come because Scale doesn’t touch any income other than streaming income. There is no deadline for the advance to be paid back. It costs the same whether it takes 4 months or 2 years.

    1. Thanks for the info Wendy. I heard about Scale but now makes sense that this can be utilized. Have not seen you since the last Impact Music Convention in Miami 1991. Glad to know you are still involved which is a plus for artists.

Comments are closed.