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  • Ron Rodrigues

Intercept Music Enables Iron Gate Records

Case Study: How Intercept is Injecting New Services for Indie Labels

Intercept Music has long evangelized about the invigorated role of independent labels on today’s music scene. Online music distribution has created a direct path between creators and their fans, and other key resources, such as marketing and promotional support, aren’t restricted to big-label artists. For these reasons, independent label growth is expected to keep taking a larger share of listeners’ ears in the coming years, and many artists are finding good, long-term homes with these labels.

Six years ago, tech entrepreneur Mark Skoda began to familiarize himself with the music business as he was helping his musically gifted 11-year-old son assemble a band and get an early career start. The band ultimately adopted its founding member’s surname, Skoda, and the group honed their funky-rock identity with infectious original songs and tight instrumentation. The work paid off, and the group was signed to a local indie label.

So far, so good, but the elder Skoda quickly observed that the label didn’t have both feet in the 21st century. “It was not a bad company but quite frankly it wasn't technologically oriented,” he remarked. Skoda had already plotted the building of the band’s brand, finding a publisher, setting up a tour, and tying all those elements into a coordinated action plan. These elements needed the kind of analytics that would, say, measure the impact of social media on merch sales, or checking an act’s audience composition to assemble a tour.

After working on the edges of the music business, Skoda and his partner – 3 Doors Down Drummer Greg Upchurch – took the plunge and earlier this year formed their own label, Iron Gate Records. Skoda turned to entrepreneurial kindred spirit and Intercept Music CEO Tod Turner for help assembling Iron Gate’s artist services.

“I met Tod when the band was relatively new and we hit it off, coming from very similar backgrounds and experiences,” said Skoda. “The band initially used Intercept for distribution and some of their optional services, and Tod was kind to offer a lot of insights about the business. As he continued to build out Intercept, I felt it was logical to partner with them after forming Iron Gate.”

Skoda chose Intercept Music because it could immediately power all the services of a major label for Iron Gate to compete in today’s technology- and data-fueled music business. Skoda said of Intercept’s expansive and unique service offerings, “I have been impressed by the company’s recently launched applications for independent record labels to manage their artists.” Instead of building these services himself, Iron Gate was ready to go on day one.

Broad Array of Service Offerings

By leveraging Intercept Music’s technology platform, Iron Gate and other independent labels can leverage the following:

UNPARALLELED DISTRIBUTION – Intercept Music’s distribution pipes leverages Universal Music Group’s Ingrooves – direct connections to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and all the streaming brands and music stores in the U.S. and worldwide. The service includes the required prep for full royalty credit and transparent data reporting.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – Artists can rise above the noise with thoughtful social marketing. Using Intercept Music’s super-convenient social media tools, artists and labels can create an entire release campaign in one sitting. Even better, the system helps artists stay engaged with their fans by suggesting content based on the artist’s music genre, hobbies and other interests.

MERCHANDISE – Logo-wear and other branded merch is a superior artist branding and fan engagement channel, not to mention a major revenue source. Intercept Music will set up and manage a unique merch store for each of an independent label’s artists. Choose from a wide variety of stylish apparel and other gear, sell it online or at a venue, and Intercept will transparently handle all the details down to sales tax accounting.

DATA REPORTING – In today’s world, independent labels need good data and analytics as much as the major labels. Intercept Music puts all the key data on at-a-glance dashboards, measuring streaming, sales, social, and merchandise – including the relationships between these key factors.

PLAYLIST PROMOTION – All artists, but especially independent artists, need exposure on playlists to grow a fanbase. Intercept’s Playlist Placement service helps to connect an artist to essential playlist curators. Intercept’s Enhanced Playlist Services seeks to extend the time a release lives on a playlist or pushes the release closer to the top of the list.

MARKETING SERVICES – Intercept Music also provides a suite of other marketing services including music reviews, PR support, physical CD/vinyl pressing and distribution, ad campaign strategy, an electronic billboard in NYC’s Times Square, and even celebrity influencer shout-outs!

Artists: if you or your independent label can benefit from the most complete array of music marketing and distribution services, share this blog with your label.

Independent Label execs: want to learn how Intercept can instantly provide you with “major label” ala carte services, follow this link for details, or just go here to connect with an Intercept Music rep.

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