Australasia’s newest digital aggregator is doubtful whether local content quotas for streaming platforms can ever be legislated for – but would like to see a greater commitment from the likes of Spotify to local indie music.
Brisbane-based start-up GYROstream launched in Australia in June and provides a low-cost digital distribution solution for independent artists seeking to get their content onto digital platforms across the globe. The company’s name is an anagram for ‘Get Your Record Out’ and also offers a range of other music services such as PR packages, vinyl/CD production and even insurance deals.
The GYROstream launch comes at a time when some in the industry are pushing for streaming platforms to mirror the 25 percent local content quotas on radio.
General Manager Andy Irvine says he supports the idea of a 25 percent quota for streaming, but is sceptical whether it would be possible to legislate for it.
“I am not a lawyer but I am not sure it’s viable in a legal sense,” he says. “But what we do need is a commitment from those services that there will be a local team here curating local independent music, and that they will be including a significant portion of their music in local playlists. We would like to see as much Australian and New Zealand content in those playlists as possible, but I think it’s going to come down to a commitment from those companies to do that.”
At the same time, Irvine believes Australasian artists do need to think globally when it comes to getting their music on the major online platforms.
He maintains that markets such as the Middle East and China remain largely untapped by homegrown artists and says GYROstream can help open the door to these territories. As well as servicing the major western players, the company has access to China’s five big music services, which collectively reach 550 million active users.
“There are 180 million people that subscribe to the big western streaming services and there hundreds of millions more in the Middle East, China and places like that,” Irvine says.
“That’s where people need to be looking for fans. It’s not about throwing 200 CDs in the back of the van and hoping that they sell on tour; you now have access to hundreds of millions of people. We’ve also never had so much access to data about what songs are having the most impact so artists have to think of themselves as global brands.”
Another key selling point for GYROstream is that it is locally based so if a problem arises, it can be sorted out quickly; he says that with companies based offshore, the differences in timezones means that it can days before issues can be acted on. He adds that the prices the company charges are very competitive, with a low upfront fee – $9.99 to upload a song or album – and as small a commission as possible.
Irvine was unwilling to say how many artists had signed up for GYROstream to date, but he has been pleased with the progress to date.
“It’s early days for us and our job for the first six months is to spread the word as far and wide as possible. But the big Australian bodies such as APRA and AIR, and the individual state bodies such as QMusic and MusicNSW, are really on board with what we are doing. And from an artist perspective, we’re getting lots of great feedback about the site.”