The New Frequency Towards Monetization
he ongoing pandemic has pushed artists and creatives towards the inevitable necessity of seeking out new ways to monetize their art. As millions of artists daydream about returning to the stage, dozens of new technology companies are looking to capitalize on new ways artists can connect with virtual audiences while still earning a living. The Advance sat down with Amotz Tokatly, one of Israel’s biggest talent buyers to talk about his forward-thinking platform Freqmusic. Amotz, along with his partner/ Co-founder Yoav Burg and Luca Piccolo (founder of Orbeat Booking) have come together to develop a revolutionary new platform, making it possible to monetize DJ sets while providing an exceptional listener experience. Tokatly claims FreqMusic is currently the only platform to share its revenues equally with creators starting from dollar one.
The DJ as a musician armed with the turntable as an instrument truly emerged in the 1970’s when DJ’s like Grandmaster Flash Grandwizard Theodore manipulated these flat discs in ways never before seen or heard. This new way of interpreting music ultimately birthed Hip-Hop and a subgenre now known as Turntablism. The DJ (and the DJ set) hasn't necessarily earned the same respect in the music industry as an original composition. The recorded DJ set faces challenges: from copyright issues, to poorly-matched distribution channels and murky monetization practices. There is a misunderstanding of how people listen to, discover, and share DJ sets - and the result is the same. Major online music platforms do not reward DJs with the compensation they deserve. FreqMusic believes they have the solution.
Can you give a little background story of how FreqMusic came about?
FreqMusic was conceived from the idea that DJs have unalienable rights in regards to their music. That their creation the DJ set, actually means something beyond its art form. In their “performance” they are creating something unique which they have rights to and should make a sustainable living out of. They are gathering the fans, they are selling the tickets. By smartly connecting those elements together, we can provide real value to the artists and curators - and better content to the fans. FreqMusic is a hub where they can upload their music, curate their content in different channels, engage their fans directly, promote their music, build their brand, and monetize from it.
We started in late 2019, much before the coronavirus upended the world as we knew it. The pandemic only expedited what we saw as the natural course of things. DJs cannot rely only on events solely to make money. They have to have a sustainable income online (on-demand, streaming, eCommerce, and more). The people who are backing FreqMusic (both financially and professionally) are the founders of Wix.com, the biggest website building platform in the world. We share a long (and quite successful) history of listening to market needs, building disruptive platforms, and making our partners successful online.
How will Freqmusic benefit Artists now and in the long run?
FreqMusic enables artists and curators to upload several channels (in contrast to a single profile), thus optimizing the entire catalog an artist or curator has. By dedicating its app to lovers of electronic music first, and with smart linkage and discovery flows, artists and their music can be discovered by more fans. Partners of FreqMusic can engage directly with their fan base.
FreqMusic is focusing on its partner’s success, constantly developing additional features for an artist to promote and monetize its music. Whether it is a shared music catalog (where, for example, a single set can be discovered in multiple related channels, such as the DJ’s, the club channel where it was played and that DJ’s label); holding a ticketed live event, selling merchandise. Even tracks or loops. FreqMusic is focused on its partner’s success. And most importantly, FreqMusic shares the revenues from its premium subscription evenly with its partner from the very first cent. This payment comes on top of what we pay as royalties. And as such, the revenues expected channels to receive are ten times greater. We would like to have the professionals in the businesses use them as their music e-commerce hub.
Do you think the pandemic has made an impact on how Artists promote themselves online?
The short answer: HUGE. The longer one would be - that without technology and specifically no social media - the scene could very well die. As the second wave strikes we see lower engagement, 6 months of no weekend raves, where no one misses a thing, slowly but surely lowered the “scene” hype. The hype may return, but our habits now must include online activities, while technology could be the connecting force, social media is the driver at the helm. We see that in several stages using the technology can quite quickly repent on errs of the past.
But it needs investment. Money, focus, education., patience. Technology can offer better access, faster and wider. DJs, curators, agencies - they all understand they need to create sustainable income online. Now we, artists and others cannot afford to be as lazy as we were. Feeding on events, carried by the crowds. They must look for ways that involve online activity as an integral part of their activities.
Staying relevant in the scene is tough when one is not playing any shows, how do you see Freqmusic adapting with Artists to be able to stay in the know and able to interact with their fans.
Staying connected to your fan base is a must for one to stay relevant. And an artist's life supply is relevant. FreqMusic lets a direct engagement between fans and artists. From sending notifications to TXT2Fan, the ability to throw an online party (private or public, free or ticketed). FreqMusic provides better access and closes the gap between fans and artists - toward interaction. Eventually, each artist could surround themselves with their own micro-community. Similar to an exclusive members club. With benefits, with membership.
As a booker and promoter, how has this pandemic changed your view on the music scene and it will even be the same once things go back to "normal"?
The Pandemic changed the world ..“It's the end of the world as we know it” as the R.E.M sang
And I do feel fine. I think there was a lot of confusion in the scene. The core of our scene are values of love, sharing the dance floor with people from all races and genders, futurism. Innovation and experiencing together without boundaries. In the last few years those values were neglected and forgotten since we moved as a whole frםm the underground to a more centric place...this was just a normal shift...so I feel the pandemic came in time to remind us all in the industry, we need to go back to our roots. Music is a spiritual language that connects communities all over the world and we are the ambassadors.
Another thing that happened is that our industry understood that most of us are transparent to the governments..and it's time for us to rise and understand that we need to take care of our community and industry if we want to continue and gradually get back. Yes, people will go back to the party that's for sure..dancing is liberation. But there's a lot of Fomo that died with the covid our job is to bring it back...bring back the happiness, the trust, the love. We will need to bring back the experience in a new form...more genuine and authentic..people will need to support the artists & brands they are associated with and Feel connected to. They will do it only if they feel they are sincere with them and giving them back those values.
Do you have any advice you can give to artists who are just breaking into the scene?
Work hard, be true to your heart, don't be shy, and don't give up. These are challenging times and I believe that there are new waves coming. I believe there will be a lot of room in the scene for new players. I think the scene is ready for new blood and innovation. The wise man asked me once “ What is your concept? ``So for me it's always a good point to start. Ask yourself - what's my story, what am I bringing to the scene that will be fresh, new & different. Don't try to be someone you're not and don't imitate. And always remember not to take life too seriously.
Thank you Amotz- we look forward to seeing more solutions for artists and wish you and FreqMusic the best of luck!
The Advance began with the intention of creating community and dialogue around what the future of live entertainment looks like, how we are pinpointing places for growth, streamlining processes, highlighting advancements, and shaping it as a collective. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org