This year at SXSW 2019, emphasizing the importance of artist empowerment has taken stage.
On March 11, Ursa Music made its debut at SXSW 2019 in Austin, Texas, inviting artists to come up to the booth and hear more about the future of music and digital rights management.
According to the company, it is the only streaming service on the market that features extensive artist-controlled profiles, including music, photos, videos, tour dates, bios and more, all in one place.
I spoke with co-founder Chad Royce about how the digital transformation of the music industry has led to a large disconnect, as many other artists have noted, between the performer and the audience.
“Between the two of us, we’ve performed all over the world and recorded countless records as side men, as songwriters, as producers and as artists,” Royce told me.
“But, as music shifted from physical to digital, and finally transformed into streaming, we grew frustrated with the notion that artists were becoming disconnected from their music. We saw that there was no way for an artist to have a voice in connection with their music. Listening happens in one place and artist/fan interaction happens in a million other places where there is no music.”
Royce and co-founder Chris Jones also saw a need to improve the accreditation for artists.:
“[…] we also saw a big need for digital credits that are linkable to actual profiles. We wanted to build an artist-centric music platform for artists; we wanted to reconnect them to their music, and we wanted to give them a voice alongside their music so that their fans could connect with them on a deeper level while listening.”
Andrew Rossow: What has been the most exciting part of your journey?
Chad Royce: The most exciting part has been the reactions we’ve received from the artists themselves. SXSW was a huge success for us because we walked away knowing we had built something that artists want and something in which they see real value. Everybody was eager to sign up and that confirmed to us what we knew along: that there’s a real need for this platform.
AR: Can you talk about some of the major challenges you have faced along the way?
CR: Our biggest challenge is answering this question–how do we get people to shift their habits and replace what they currently use with something new?
Obviously we’re up against some pretty big names in the music space, so it’s somewhat of a ‘David/Goliath’ scenario, but we’re up to the task because we know we’ve built something that ultimately serves the needs of artists much better than everything else offered in the space.
The general public is aware of the traditional music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon, YouTube, and Soundcloud. But, platforms like SongKick and BandsInTown offer events., and Jaxtsa and All Credits offer credits.
AR: What is Ursa’s ultimate vision?
CR: We are, and always will be, a music streaming platform built by artists for artists and the fans that love them and we will continue to listen to artists’ needs as we iterate. We want people to think of us as the first and only artist-centric music streaming platform with more of a personal touch, a community where fans can come not only to listen and discover, but to interact, engage and go deeper with the artists they love.
[…] Currently, we have artists like Wyclef Jean, Adam Green, Jazzy Amra, Future Generations, and Royal Teeth on the platform.
The Ursa app while in development for three years, is currently ‘invitation only’ and in Beta for the iOS operating system, but the streaming service is currently seeking artists and bands to participate in this testing phase by going to www.ursamusic.com.