Stem, a startup that helps independent musicians get paid, is expanding with a new funding program called Scale.
Co-founder and CEO Milana Rabkin Lewis described the company's core offering as a way for employees to remember sharing a song's proceeds. As soon as you have uploaded a title, Scale can automatically distribute the payments to these employees. It also offers a wider range of tools, including sales data, that allow musicians to manage the financial side of their careers.
However, Rabkin Lewis noted that some musicians at Stem started graduating by signing a record label contract, usually because they needed capital: "Sometimes it was money for marketing, sometimes it was money for production, sometimes it was the cost of the tour. "
With Scale, Rabkin Lewis and her team are trying to offer something better – a way for musicians to get access to the money they need without having to sign a restrictive contract. The terms of payment are transparent; They are calculated as a percentage of monthly sales, with musicians being able to adjust how much money they take and how quickly they want to pay it back.
They can also retain creative control and full ownership of their master recordings. And Stem says that these advances are better from a tax perspective because they are classified as a dealer credit advance that is only taxed when money is actually made.
Money may not be the only thing a musician needs, but Rabkin Lewis (a former agent of the United Talent Agency) said that marketing and other services that were once the only domain of record labels are now available through independent professionals. And with its Stem Direct membership program, Stem is already helping to connect artists with these specialists.
While Scale officially starts today, Stem has already tested the program with selected artists. Rabkin Lewis said advances vary between $ 2,500 and $ 250,000, with most ranging from $ 50,000 to $ 100,000 and payback times between four and 18 months.
Artists who have already participated in the program include Brent Faiyaz, Justine Skye and Lil Donald.
Rabin Lewis added that there is a "huge white room" when it comes to offering financial services to "the creative class".
"I look forward to thinking about how artists can secure their music in the future," she said. "You should be able to take out money for your music to fund your recording studio or your child's studies. I want to be the platform that understands what it means to be a creative professional and to provide these people with the best services of theirs To be able to offer class that other segments of workers have access to. ”