Music 2.0: Digital Promo Distribution


Toronto-based technology firm YANGAROO Inc.; however, has developed a solution to modernize this model with their Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS).  DMDS allows record labels to send music and promotional materials directly to radio stations securely and cost effectively, utilizing biometrics, encryption, database management, direct-marketing tools, and watermarking. 

Since its launch in Canada during the Spring of 2003, the country’s leading broadcast chains including: Standard Broadcasting, Rogers Broadcasting, Corus Entertainment and the CBC have adopted this technology and today, DMDS is utilized by 100% of chart-monitored radio in Canada.  It is the exclusive promo delivery tool of all four major label groups –  Universal, SONY BMG, Warner, and EMI – and is quickly being adopted by the independent music community.

Its adoption has saved label promotion departments much of the costs of manufacturing promotional CD singles or ‘CD-Pros’, shipping costs and countless hours traditionally spent stuffing and addressing envelopes.  Radio programmers spend less time opening packages and searching for misplaced CDs. 

DMDS also presents the industry with an environmentally-friendly solution to distributing music. Compact discs are made from many non-renewable materials — polycarbonate, lacquer, dyes and various metals including aluminum, gold, silver and titanium. With 200 billion of them, CDs have become a serious environmental problem. Once the CD is manufactured, it is packaged in a plastic “jewel case”, bubble wrapped, and shipped many miles, burning non-renewable fossil fuel resources, polluting the environment and contributing to global warming.

Although an individual may keep a CD for 20 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, compact discs have a four year lifespan and a two percent damage rate during the recording process. About one billion compact discs weighing almost 20,000 tons are discarded annually in North America, and they do not break down.  This conservative estimate excludes discs with defects discarded by the manufacturing sector.

Once established in Canada, YANGAROO now offers DMDS to the US music industry, the world’s largest.  It was first rolled out in the US through a marketing partnership with Billboard and Nielson BDS in 2005.  The partnership helped lend credence and legitimacy to the DMDS brand and to this date, it is currently in use by three out of the four major label groups and has exceeded two million deliveries of promotional music in the US. 

Perhaps the most notable of the deliveries was the highly anticipated single “What I’ve Done” by multi-platinum Warner Bros. rock stars, Linkin Park.  This was a historic event marking the first time a major record label in the US released a significant new single entirely by digital means to radio.  Over 95% of Mainstream and Alternative chart-monitored radio stations were simultaneously and securely given access to “What I’ve Done” as a CD-quality digital audio file.  The song debuted at #1 on the BDS and Mediabase Alternative charts, thereby proving the validity and effectiveness of digital promo distribution.

Usage of DMDS continues to increase.  As the paradigm continues to shift with major labels downsizing their rosters and household names like Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead becoming indie artists, DMDS is positioned to become a major part of the growth of the independent community.  Recent deals with aggregators, Indie911 and A&R Select will allow these indie service providers to offer DMDS promo distribution to the tens of thousands of independent artists and labels that constitute their membership base, essentially leveling the playing field by providing the same promo distribution methods utilized by major labels. 

Beyond North America, YANGAROO has launched the DMDS service in the UK with Europe and Australia to follow, through a marketing partnership with London-based Adstream Ltd., a world-leader in digital asset-management and distribution services to the global advertising community.  The partnership was launched at the major international music conference in Cannes, France in 2007.  Adstream has since registered over 300 UK radio stations with DMDS and inked a major deal with leading independent promotion company, Intermedia Regional Promotions, which represents a wide cross-section of major and independent labels.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned from the wide adoption of DMDS is that even in the midst of this new technological frontier popularly known as ‘Music 2.0’, radio continues to be a vital promotional tool for musicians.  DMDS has shown the music industry that properly embraced and utilized, technological advancements don’t have to be a detriment to contemporary business models, but contrarily can be tools capable of saving time, cutting costs, promoting/marketing and securing content – all vital benefits to an industry in transition.

Cliff Hunt,
Chairman and COO of YANGAROO,
the industry’s leading secure digital media distribution company.