Create Music Group, the indie-startup music distribution company founded in 2015, has had a mission for transparency around royalties since the start. In 2019, they were the first company to offer immediate streaming revenue data for their clients. Today, they’re looking to disrupt the current financial dynamic between artists and distributors by syncing streaming profits directly to their artist's new credit card (powered by Mastercard).
This development has been a goal of co-founders Jonathan Strauss and Alexandre Williams since their release of their daily earnings portal, but due to coronavirus hindering live shows, they felt the issue of artist payouts became more pressing. “I’d say the mid-level electronic act probably makes 70 to 80% of all their money from live shows. One of the reasons that we expedited this release is because we noticed how many of our artists in electronic were just hit and destroyed from the pandemic.”
Electronic artists will be just one of the main groups included in the card’s beta stage, which will be made available to around 100 artists total. Some of the first clients included in the testing phase are Surfaces, Future, Larray, 6ix9ine, and Funkmaster Flex, as well as certain labels and management companies. After this first phase, which is expected to last around half a year, the card will be made available to the rest of Create Music’s client roster, and then, as soon as possible, to the entire independent artist sphere. This decision for inclusivity is supported by Williams, as he says “the middle class of artists is growing so much faster than the front-line artists… you’re gonna have millions of people that are artists… that are gonna need financial products like this. We would like to be the artists’ bank.”
The beta phase of the card will not include any fees, however once it is offered up to a wider audience, they are expected to add a “nominal” fee around 1-2%.
This advancement is also expected to increase artists' musical output, as Create has seen lots of evidence of increased production after they implemented their real-time royalty calculator. Williams said “These artists would reach out to us personally and just say, ’Now that I can see my daily royalties every day, I accelerated my output of music.’”
Create’s new system aims to finally give artists a sense of stability, consistency, and immediate validation. They’re sure living by the philosophy “Out with the old and in with the new.”