Sound Legends wants to give independent artists around the world access to the global music market – in 195 countries and over 300 streaming platforms.
In a quiet arc over the summer, a new player has entered the crowded field of digital music distribution with a globally focused model. The concept is slightly different from that of the established class: instead of focusing exclusively on upper-tier markets like North America and Western Europe, Sound Legends wants to “empower deserving and talented artists in all regions of the world”, which includes adapting price levels to meet global affordability levels.
Sound Legends’ global outlook is their self-proclaimed unbeatable competitive advantage. While music distribution is arguably a mature space, Sound Legends believes that existing digital distributors remain focused on markets such as the United States, due to the higher monthly fees that first-world artists are able to afford. (and receive).
“We understand that $6.99 per month for US-based artists is modest, but that’s what an artist in another part of the world would earn in a week – if that,” explained the CEO and Sound Legends co-founder Alex Malagon. “So we are sensitive to that.”
According to Malagon, Sound Legends is the “entry point for international artists” while fueling continued growth in markets like Latin America. It’s all part of a model that caters to 195 different countries and aims to build strong businesses in many of them. Most recently, DMN partnered with Sound Legends to expand the more accessible pricing approach and bring more global artists into an affordable distribution partnership.
With the platform up and running through direct seed funding, Sound Legends is now raising outside capital. The company just launched its Reg CF offering at a valuation of $32 million.
Regulation CF, or “Reg CF,” is a relatively new crowdfunding instrument, thanks to recently relaxed investor regulations in the United States. Prior to 2016, investments of this nature were generally reserved for wealthier accredited investors or were subject to high levels of compliance requirements.
The capital increase will be used to fuel Sound Legends’ marketing and sales initiatives and improve its UX. Malagon noted that Latin America is the fastest growing market in the world and a primary focus area for Sound Legends. “There are a lot of amazing artists coming from Latin America, especially from Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico,” Malagon explained.
“These crossover acts are dominating and reshaping the entire musical landscape in the country and beyond. This is why we focus on emerging independent artists from these countries. Sound Legend’s geo-targeted outreach efforts are paying off by adding thousands of daily users from the most searched markets.”
Beyond traditional distribution services, Malagon has also created a wider range of services for artists. These cover copyright, song licensing, publishing administration, A&R consulting, and legal, marketing, and PR-related services. It’s more like the broad support offered by a record label, which is exactly the intention.
There are also discussions around a model that offers international Sound Legends franchises.
Malagon called this the company’s “195-country licensing model”, emphasizing country-specific franchisees. “This revenue model strengthens the boots on the ground by focusing on people who know their own market better than anyone else,” Malagon explained.
“If someone from Columbia wants to have their own Sound Legends Columbia franchise, branded and representing their country’s star artist, they simply purchase the licensing rights for that country. In turn, they will earn 50% of all revenues that pass through said country while benefiting from the vast marketing machine already in place in national markets and beyond”.
Under each country-specific entity is a common distribution platform suite. Sound Legends executives call the platform the “one-stop shop for artists and producers.”
Even in a perfect world, artists have limited knowledge of technology. When it comes to copyright legality, the knowledge base is even worse, a situation Sound Legends wants to improve. Malagon noted: “They [artists] don’t have to understand copyright; they don’t have a license. Sound Legends has the technology to stream a song around the world in a minute.
Sound Legends PR manager Dindy Yokel also addressed this “skills limitation” adding, “For artists, learning how to create and remove NFTs, gaining massive exposure on social media and traditional media requires several new skill sets that take away their expertise, which creates music.
Sound Legends’ unique installment payment plan is likely to attract more artists. The approach “empowers deserving and talented artists in other parts of the world” and puts the often empty platitude of “equity” into action.
Subscription tiers prioritize music distribution and track acquisition, reflecting the company’s goal to “speak to the hearts of artists.” Depending on their country of residence, artists pay different subscription rates. The company calls these tiered pricing for the “1st World, 2nd World, and 3rd World” levels of distribution.
The highest tier (Tier I, applying to the US and Western Europe) is $6.99 per month, followed by Tier II (for Eastern Europe and Asia) to 3 $.99 per month, and from Tier III (for developing countries) to $1.99 per month.
According to Sound Legends, this nominal monthly fee “gives artists outside the United States the opportunity to be heard.” All of these monthly subscriptions provide artists with access to Sound Legends’ comprehensive services and global distribution platform.
Discussing this unique installment plan, Malagon said, “It comes down to the fact that we are a global company.” But the company also offers a considerable amount of free services, at least in the trial phases. At Sound Legends, independent artists can create an account for free, get unlimited downloads, and test the platform for 60 days before paying.
This free account allows artists to experience the full breadth of the platform and gain insight into comprehensive distribution analysis and copyright administration services. Artists follow a streamlined process of creating an account, uploading tracks and copyrighting their music to appear on over 300 channels worldwide.
Malagon also emphasized full and wide distribution worldwide. Sound Legends promises access to “300 DSPs, double the number of other music distribution platforms for publishing music.” Throughout, Malagon noted that Sound Legend’s primary goal is to ensure that all content is properly copyrighted.
But the strong point of the platform could be the single annual fee, with the possibility of keeping 100% of the musical royalties.
It’s arguably the most competitive pricing plan available, with Distrokid originally pushing rivals like Tunecore into all-you-can-eat pricing deals. Similarly, Sound Legends wants artists to “get every dollar you deserve for your life’s work”, by combining all the features of Sound Legends into an independent artist domain.
Other advantages are competitive and worth noting. This includes real-time visibility stats and sales information, with revenue and royalty tabs. By centralizing analytics on a member dashboard, artists can keep tabs on their performance across different platforms.
Artists can also tackle digital assets using the NFT marketplace on the platform. The company allows independent artists to register, manage and sell NFTs. The platform’s NFT market is equipped with the required necessities, as well as a free crypto wallet.
Yokel explained how these features, along with the company’s global focus, elevate the game for licensees and artists. “If you create a platform that’s open to almost every country in the world, you’re going to find musicians that you wouldn’t otherwise discover.”