The COVID-19 pandemic helped propel the world’s most innovative music companies to success. Live streaming capabilities and frictionless payment options were enhanced by the industry. Streaming companies also found innovative ways to amplify Black and Latin cultures and expand to countries that were previously overlooked.
The following are the 10 Most Innovative Music Companies in the World that have elevated the music industry in ways that will have a lasting impact beyond the economic and social turmoil.
Tainy, a reggaeton pioneer for more than a decade, has produced hit records for artists including Cardi B, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny. In conjunction with Interscope Records, he co-founded Neon16 last year with former Roc Nation executive Lex Borrero. Tainy says, “It pushes our culture forward.”. In addition to working with up-and-coming Latin talent including Dylan Fuentes, Kris Floyd, and Álvaro Díaz, Neon16 is making good on its motto to“believe nothing, impact everything” by increasing its focus on live events, television, and film, and gaming.
The friendly competition between Timbaland and Swizz Beatz during a quarantine on Instagram Live quickly transformed into one of 2020’s biggest entertainment breakouts. Legendary R&B and rap artists wrestle it out on Verzuz, a music battle platform.
Verzuz struck a non-exclusive distribution deal with Apple in July to stream battles on Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, and Instagram Live. In addition to creating a large stream of streaming numbers, Verzuz also boosted interest in artists whose commercial popularity may have peaked years ago, which has been dubbed “The Verzuz Effect.”
3. PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT
BQueen Bey Knowles-Carter’s management and entertainment company Parkwood Entertainment launched Disney Plus’ groundbreaking visual album Black Is King, the companion piece to 2019’s Lion King soundtrack The Lion King: The Gift. The July premiere of Disney Plus’s Black Is King elevated Black culture and imagery through art and fashion, not to mention the service’s subscriber count.
BeatStars is an online marketplace where producers can sell their beats to artists. The platform got a major boost after it was discovered that the beat for Lil Nas X’s historic 2019 track “Old Town Road” was produced by the platform. BeatStars, however, has proven it’s not a one-hit-wonder. As part of the agreement, BeatStars producers and artists will be able to gain access to Sony/ATV’s publishing services and administrative services. Over 2 million users have earned more than $100 million from BeatStars.
5. HARMONIX MUSIC SYSTEMS
Harmonix revolutiWith its music-based titles Guitar Hero and Rockband, Harmonix revolutionized video games by making gamers play instruments while scrolling along to notes from popular songs. The latest Harmonix rhythm game, Fuser, lets players remix four tracks at once, taking an active part in creating the music.
The online platform Bandcamp allows musicians to promote their work and sell merch. Among artists, Bandcamp has been a favorite since its launch in 2008. In particular, because its revenue model takes only 10-15% of digital items and 10% of physical items. Bandcamp also introduced Bandcamp Live, recognizing that in-person concerts were no longer feasible. With this ticketed live streaming service, merch sales are seamless and integrated into the platform. Bandcamp is therefore one of the most innovative music companies in the world.
In the world of entertainment, Dolby is a leader in audio. With it, a suite of tools and updates were introduced that improved the quality of recordings and live streams. Last year, Dolby released the recording app Dolby On, which was downloaded more than 1 million times. COVID-19 prompted many people to seek methods to replicate the live experience. Dolby On now offers live streaming capabilities that focus on sound-related features such as noise reduction and stereo widening.
Furthermore, Mastering on SoundCloud, Powered by Dolby is a joint effort between Dolby and music distribution and streaming service SoundCloud. The SoundCloud product filters uploaded tracks through Dolby’s automated audio mastering technology using the Dolby API platform Dolby.io.
8. ROYALTY EXCHANGE
The Royalty Exchange marketplace allows artists to sell their works to investors during online auctions. More than $90 million has benefited artists through Royalty Exchange’s more than 1,000 transactions to date.
Royalty Exchange expanded its services to include sellers in 2020. Due to the lack of price guarantee, the sellers were wary of auctions, with bids possibly starting low and staying low. The result is the eXchange, a Craigslist-style option where sellers set a fixed price for buyers. Royalty Exchange is one of the most innovative music companies in the world.
Audiomack is a music streaming and discovery platform with over 16 million monthly active users. The move represented a strategic play into key African territories. Streaming and sales of music across countries expected to grow substantially over the next five years, according to the report. The upward trend coincides with the opening of Audiomack’s first international office in Lagos in 2020. Additionally, the label signed a licensing agreement with Warner Music to make its catalog available across countries for the first time. Data insights from Audiomack will also help Warner Music’s A&R department discover new talent. As a result, African artists on Warner Music’s label will be able to enter Western markets.
Stem has made it a priority to relieve pain points for artists by simplifying managing contracts, getting music onto platforms, and, most importantly, ensuring that artists paid. Earlier this year, Stem introduced Scale, a funding resource whereby investors receive a fixed percentage of future earnings until the advance repaid. (It keeps artists from forced into restrictive label contracts because they need cash.) Scale makes its terms transparent, as well as allowing them to keep full control over their masters. The Stem had been working on Scale before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the timing couldn’t have been better. It is now giving independent musicians hope. In the time since the pandemic, Stem has given out $1.6 million in advances.
The list of the most innovative music companies in the world ends here. Take inspiration from these creative ideas and build something great.