Company File: Record Union
The New Accessibility to Music
By Caitlyn Lee
The way in which the world enjoys music has changed drastically over the last 10-20 years. Today there are countless ways to create, discover, and listen to new music. It can be difficult to understand how new sounds come and go within the music world, especially in an ocean of digital media and technology. The Company File for our music issue focuses on a Stockholm-based company, Record Union, which was founded in 2008. The company provides independent artists with a channel for their music to reach the global digital market. With the rise of illegal downloading sites like Limewire, Pirate Bay, and Napster, Record Union was created to help artists distribute their music to legal downloading stores, such as Spotify, iTunes, and Tidal. Swedish Press spoke with CEO Johan Svanberg to find out how Record Union helps music artists get exposure online.
Before legal streaming sites were established, much of our mainstream music was promoted by selective record labels. It was difficult for artists to get attention for their music, as it was hard to expose it to the public.
Record Union shies away from these conventional types of exposure and makes it easy for independent musicians to make their work available. When an artist wishes to release a song, Record Union acts as an agent to collect royalties for every play or download on the numerous sites they are in partnership with. They also provide data analytics, which is a vital tool for marketing. The company can track the demographics of plays and downloads for each individual artist and song. This gives artists the ability to focus on a certain type of audience for promotions and tours.
Record Union does not only provide this service to artists; they are also part of the promotion and discovery side of the music industry. They act as music scouts that can refer certain artists to a specific demand in the aforementioned online stores or record labels, such as Sony music. In the past, Record Union has used the range of artists they host to make successful matches for movie trailers and opening acts for concerts. Svanberg said, “In a time when the opportunities to reach a worldwide audience are increasing, today’s challenge for artists is to break through the noise. Getting music on the same platforms as the world’s biggest stars is the first step. From our end we work constantly with our catalog to find undiscovered artists and help guide them to the spotlight. We have great relationships with all of our partners who are constantly looking for great new potential.”
The bottom line of the company is to help independent artists expose themselves. Record Union wants to make displaying music to the public a democratic and transparent right for individuals. It is no longer big decision makers who choose whom to sign and promote. Now musical talent has high competition and Svanberg said his best advice is for artists to get their music available online. Record Union allows every artist to do this with only a small investment so that each musician can share his/her talents with the world.