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DistroKid launches new A&R service, Upstream

By | Published on Friday 29 January 2021


DIY music distributor DistroKid has launched a new service called Upstream, which allows artists to get their music heard by labels. You know, if they want it to be heard by labels. And why wouldn’t they? Yeah, OK, maybe you’re right. But whatever. Who cares? At launch, Upstream-ed artists can specifically get their music heard by Universal’s Republic Records.

“Millions of artists rely on DistroKid and often ask for help getting noticed by record labels”, says the distributor’s CEO Philip Kaplan. “And record labels have approached us about finding efficient ways to identify talent in the DistroKid community. With demand on both sides, it made sense to play matchmaker. And by forming relationships with the industry’s leading labels, DistroKid artists are able to identify potential partners who can accelerate their careers”.

Upstream will be headed up by former Warner A&R and COO of Kanye West’s GOOD Music, Ché Pope, who says: “Philip and his team have built DistroKid into a phenomenon that more than two million unsigned artists rely on, with thousands more joining every day”.

“For those artists who want to be noticed”, he goes on, “Upstream provides a powerful way to connect with record labels. For labels, Upstream opens a window into a cache of data that can help identify promising artists early in their career. I believe this will be a game-changer for both artists and record labels and I couldn’t be happier that a world-class label like Republic Records will be our inaugural partner”.

Over at world-class label Republic Records, apparently, President Avery Lipman says: “Upstream provides us with artist insights we can combine with existing sources of data and insights to cast an even wider net with respect to identifying great emerging talent”.

“However”, he adds, “data only gets you so far and our success has been based on our unique ability to identify passion and translate that into worldwide creative and commercial success for our artists. We look forward to working with Philip, Ché, and the team at DistroKid to identify a new vanguard of superstars together”.

The service is free for artists signed up to DistroKid to use, and the company does not require artists to give up any rights or income. There is also no obligation to use the service if, you know, well, maybe you really want to stay super independent and you’re scared that a label will offer you a massive advance you can’t refuse.