REBEAT Digital on their expansion to Indian market and challenges in the Indian music industry
REBEAT Digital is a rapidly expanding Austrian company for digital music distribution. Based on a unique music distribution software, REBEAT Digital delivers content of more than 2800 labels from 62 countries to more than 300 download shops across the globe, including all market leaders like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Napster, etc. In 2010 REBEAT has entered the Indian market to offer musicians, producers and record labels a powerful tool to distribute their music worldwide.Tell us more about the idea and project of REBEAT.
The main idea of the REBEAT Digital concept is to provide a tool through which our users can distribute their content directly to a multitude of digital music stores. Our core approach to distribution is to automate all processes as far as possible in order to minimize manual data handling and maximize revenues. This means that we develop and keep all processes in-house in order to make sure that no third party tech providers take a share of our users’ revenues and that no licensing fees for external services need to be paid.
Why did you start the project? What was your motivation behind?
REBEAT was founded in 2001 because no record label wanted to sign me (as an artist). So I thought: If you don’t sell my music, I will do it on my own. Once I began distributing my own CDs, a lot of friends asked me to sell their songs too. When iTunes and other download stores started in 2003, we began to distribute to these channels as well. Soon we found out that digital distribution can be done much more easily and more cheaply than physical distribution. Thus we started to develop software for musicians and labels, allowing them to digitally sell their music worldwide and directly from their PC.
What is your business model?
REBEAT Digital pays 85% of the collected revenues to the user and also handles the payment of mechanical royalties worldwide. REBEAT Digital users get paid monthly as soon as their accounts exceed the threshold of EUR 50.- (in order to keep the transaction costs low). The full version of the software costs EUR 99.-/IRS 7000.- as a one off fee; The upload of one song costs EUR 1.-/IRS 60.- and includes distribution to all present and future stores.
What is the artist's benefit to publish & distribute his/her music through REBEAT?
The biggest benefit is keeping full control over your music without giving away your rights. This means you can stay independent and still sell your music on all leading international stores, with a revenue share that by far exceeds all deals previously offered by record labels. In fact, with the REBEAT software you become your own record label - and your market is the world!
What made you choose India as a market for your service?
The dedicated work of Indian music software company Sudeep Audio has made us aware of the immense creativity and quality of Indian artists and their huge potential for the international market. We strongly believe in an open-minded approach to the digital music business and discovered that there is a lot for us to learn from the Indian music scene that could help us improve the REBEAT Digital services. Indian musicians are struggling for fair treatment and payments as in most cases their songs are given away for free. Any kind of support that REBEAT Digital can give to change this situation could help boost the Indian music scene and create a win-win situation for everybody involved.
What have you achieved in the Indian market during the last months?
We entered the Indian market only half a year ago with a very successful workshop tour that led us to Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai. On this tour we were able to learn a lot about the Indian music business through many conversations with musicians, producers and record labels. Furthermore, we were also given a lot of support from Indian music magazines, radio stations and online media. As a result, many established artists like Daler Mehndi, Raghav Sachar, Ram Sampath, the rock band Joi and others already use REBEAT to distribute their music worldwide!
How do you see the market environment for REBEAT in India?
The Indian music industry is now beginning to enter a whole new digital market with the introduction of 3G networks. The opening of new legal download and streaming services will make both India’s immense musical heritage and a lot of new and exciting Indian music available through a multitude of digital channels very soon. Consequently, we expect the overall Indian music market (which increased by more than 16% in 2010 alone) to become one of the top ten global markets within the next five years. This development will bring many new opportunities to Indian musicians and digital services. REBEAT is working hard to be a trustworthy partner to them from the very beginning.
How is the Indian music industry different from Europe and US?
One of the biggest differences is the very strong intersection between the Indian music and film industry. While the film business has also been a traditionally important partner to the music industry in the US (and, to a lesser extend, in Europe), these ties are of vital importance to the entire music market in India.
In terms of digital music, mobile channels are likely to play a more important role than in Europe and the US, due to the very high rate of mobile phone penetration in India. Since there is a high volume of billing relationships already established, mobile subscription services have a lot of potential in the Indian market.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing in the Indian market?
There is no denying that piracy is currently one of the biggest threats to establishing a strong digital music market in India. The legal environment will play a crucial role in the further development of the Indian digital music business.
Furthermore, big players like telecom companies and ISPs still seem a little reluctant to license international catalogues and open up consumer-friendly digital music platforms with a broad repertoire and attractive prices. However, we are working hard on establishing deals with these players and always look for new opportunities to cooperate.
Finally, we find that many Indian musicians still focus on their domestic market only. With the Internet crossing all borders, why put such a limitation to your potential? Indian music is popular all over the world, and digital distribution is the key to enter a truly global market - even as an independent artist!
What is REBEAT's Business development and PR Strategy for the next months?
We are already in the process of planning our next workshop tour to India in the second half of 2011. In addition, we are currently joining forces with some high profile partners on a project that especially aims at bringing new Indian music to the forefront. Moreover we are working on improving the REBEAT Digital software by including a couple of features expressly directed at the Indian market, such as a more detailed listing of Indian genres or a special version of the REBEAT Artist Camp, our successful online platform for REBEAT Digital users.