🤝 Integrations in the royalty stack are a win for independents everywhere

Meet a new integration that enables SD royalty data to be automatically directed into a label’s IC account

Last week we announced a strategic partnership with Secretly Distribution, but unlike other deals between distributors and royalty accounting companies, this one doesn’t involve a buyout or investment, nor is one platform “powering” or “servicing” the other. SD and IC are still completely independent of each other — we didn’t even sign any paperwork.

Instead, this partnership is centered around a new integration that enables SD royalty data to be automatically directed into a label’s IC account, quite similar to our less official, no less beloved integration with Bandcamp.

This means that IC catalogs using either/both platforms can now see the income earned from them for every one of their artists, releases, and tracks, along with every payee’s updated royalty balance (inclusive of expenses, advances, and splits) in as close to real-time as possible – no manual import or FTP required.

Conceptually it’s a lot like connecting bank accounts to cloud-based bookkeeping software — the transactions automatically flow in, so you can figure out what you’re earning and spending across multiple sources (and in our case, how much you subsequently owe in royalties). As far as we can tell, both the SD and Bandcamp integrations are the first of their kind with a 3rd-party royalty accounting platform.

Why haven’t these seemingly obvious connections happened yet? Integration is not a new concept, but it’s long been resisted in the music industry, which is why this small step has such big implications for independent catalogs and creators everywhere.

Traditionally, distribution, D2C, and royalty accounting are either completely siloed from each other or “all in one” — the former makes it harder to track royalties and pay artists, the latter makes it harder to add, change, or renegotiate with your distributor or D2C platform, limiting a catalog’s potential.

Changing distros or D2C platforms is hard enough — wanting to do so and realizing you’ll need to switch or overhaul your royalty accounting at the same time is a bit like wanting to redo the kitchen, only to be told that you’ll need to redo all the plumbing too. You might wish things had been set up differently – independent of one another, you might say – in the first place. Intertwined, you’re a lot less likely to get a new kitchen (or distribution deal/D2C platform) anytime soon.

Instead of boxing people in, these integrations give catalogs the freedom to continually seek out more and better opportunities on behalf of their creators, without sacrificing independence on the altar of efficiency.

It’s a precedent we hope others will follow. Partnering in this way isn’t just good for catalogs and creators, it motivates distributors, D2Cs, and royalty platforms to continue adding value in their own respective ways, which is a win for the entire independent ecosystem. All it takes is companies knowing what they’re good at, and the desire to help more catalogs pay more creators more money. That, and a pretty basic data connection. Who’s next?