RecordDrop.com is an innovative music service that connects artists with potential fans in a nontraditional way. The brainchild of Steve Keitt and Ian Pitt, the company hopes to offer a better way for indie artists to connect with audiences. BLACK ENTERPRISE was afforded the opportunity to speak to Keitt about how the company operates, the benefits of the service, and how a company can reach success.
You’ve just started an innovative music company named RecordDrop.com. Could you give details on what RecordDrop is and what makes your company unique?
RecordDrop is a social music and music promotion service that allows artists to give promotional copies of their music directly to listeners in exchange for their feedback. At RecordDrop, music listeners never pay for music. Each week they receive free “promo” music from indie artists within genres that they select. The music can be stored in their RecordDrop “Music Crate” where they can create playlists, download the music, and/or share it with other RecordDrop members.
In exchange for giving the listeners free promotional copies of their music, indie artists receive valuable data such as listener feedback, demographics, listening activity, playlist adds, sharing activity, and more. This data can be used to make informed decisions about how to market and sell their music.
RecordDrop also provides powerful communication tools that allow artists to communicate directly with their existing and potential new fans.
What makes us different is that unlike other social music sites, at RecordDrop we deliver the artists’ music direct to our listener’s RecordDrop account based on genres of music that they’ve selected. If a listener wants 20 R&B songs per month, RecordDrop will deliver 20 R&B songs each month. Both the artist and the listener receive notifications when new music has been delivered or received. Artists do not have to spend valuable time self-promoting their music on RecordDrop. Our direct distribution system gets their music into the hands of listeners who have expressed an interest in hearing their style of music.
What led you to start this company and where do you see the company heading in terms of growth and development?
After producing records for mainstream artists for many years, I decided to start my own label and one of the biggest challenges that I faced was getting the music out there. It’s true that social media sites offer artists tools to promote their music. However, these platforms still present challenges. When I was promoting my artists, I found that I can have all the likes and views in the world but what good is that if I can’t communicate directly with those “viewers,” learn about their preferences, or inform them about my new projects?
While there are success stories of artists becoming famous from social media sites, millions of artists don’t experience that level of success. After hustling for years trying to use social media to promote, I decided that there must be a better way. I thought, what if there was a way that I can give fans what they are looking for (free music) while at the same time give artists what they need—effective ways to connect with those fans, grow their fanbases, and collect data that can be used to promote projects. After a few prototypes, my partner and I came up with the concept for RecordDrop.
We give artists the tools they need to promote their music to music listeners in the RecordDrop community. In the future, our goal is to extend so that major labels and artists can use them to create buzz for their new releases. We are in the process of establishing strategic partnerships with local businesses such as cafes, barbershops, gyms, etc., that will play RecordDrop’s promo music for their customers.
Why do you think you’ve been successful at running your business?
There is no magic formula for success. However, I do believe that there are a number of things that can contribute to one’s chances of achieving success in business:
- Have a solid business plan and stick with it. At times it may be necessary to adjust your plan.
- Be nice to people and build relationships. I believe that having solid relationships with key people is worth more than money.
- Have realistic expectations of what others can do for you. While people who believe in you can at times help you, ultimately you are responsible for your company’s success. It is not other people’s job to make your dreams come true. If you believe in your idea, put in the work.
- Don’t give up. If it becomes apparent that an idea is not working, don’t be afraid to set it aside and try something new. Many businesses have gone under because they spent time investing in a bad idea just because they were the ones who came up with it.
How has your experience working in the music and television industry shaped your thinking going forward in your business dealings?
Working in music and television has helped me to appreciate the fact that there are many ways to make a living in the music business. Technology has created opportunities to tap into revenue streams in music that were not previously available. Take the time to educate yourself on these various avenues. TV, YouTube, streaming, audio for gaming, etc., are just some of the many ways that an artist can monetize their music. The more you educate yourself, the more opportunities will become available to you.
If one wants to enter the business of entertainment to chart a path to success, what advice would you give them?
- Get educated, don’t just look for a fast track to success. Take time to learn what opportunities exist in the business, choose which one(s) you want to pursue, and go for it.
- Don’t rest your hopes for success on other people. Take the initiative and work hard for what you want.
- Know your worth, and charge for it.