Over the past decade, the story of distribution and label services platforms for independent artists has largely been one of acquisition and consolidation.
In 2015, Believe acquired TuneCore for what’s believed to be an eight-figure sum; in 2019, Downtown acquired CD Baby as part of a $200 million deal; in 2021, Sony Music bought AWAL in a $430 million deal; and earlier this year, New Jersey-headquartered Vydia was acquired by Larry Jackson’s $1 billion-backed gamma, becoming that company’s bedrock distribution platform.
Elsewhere, however, a handful of 100% independent label services platforms continue to grow their global presence – including UK-born Ditto Music.
Ditto, according to filings on UK Companies House, remains fully owned by two British brothers, Lee and Matt Parsons.
The Parsons tell MBW that their distribution and services business has now surpassed the 900,000 registered artists milestone, 15 years after it was founded in music’s ‘download era’.
The duo expect their company to surpass the 1 million registered artists mark by the end of 2023. They also tell MBW that Ditto’s overall revenue – across its global distribution/label services division, plus its artist management operation – is, in year-to-date terms, up by approximately 30% YoY
Building on that progress, Ditto is now hiring for a range of new international roles to grow its Artist & Label Services business in multiple markets. These Ditto A&LS vacancies include positions in:
Ditto’s international expansion comes on the heels of some notable chart success for the company, including its release and marketing of the First Lap mixtape by Tunde, which just landed on the Official UK Albums Chart at No.4.
Ditto ran a campaign for that record which included personal appearances and CD signings, building on Tunde’s efforts in cultivating an organic fanbase.
Matt Parsons says that First Lap’s No.4 UK chart result “exemplifies Ditto Music’s role of helping the independent sector connect with their audiences, propelling them to new heights”.
“This [No.4 chart success] exemplifies Ditto Music’s role of helping the independent sector connect with their audiences, propelling them to new heights.”
Matt Parsons, Ditto Music
In addition, Ditto has landed hits in a number of fast-growing territories over the past year including Pasilyo by the band Sunkissed Lola, which secured a No.1 chart spot in the Philippines in October. Elsewhere, Vento Forte by MC Jacaré went Top 3 in Brazil last summer and has over 100 million streams on Spotify to date.
“These remarkable achievements demonstrate Ditto Music’s remarkable capacity to bridge cultural divides and propel artists to international stardom,” says Matt Parsons.
Ditto’s artist management division, run by UK-based Matt Dodds, has had its own successes to shout about. Management client Nathan Dawe has achieved six Top 40 singles in the UK to date, with his biggest hit to date, Lighter, hitting No.3.
“Such success highlights Ditto Music’s prowess in artist management and our dedication to nurturing talent, making us an appealing destination for professionals seeking a thriving and supportive environment,” said Lee Parsons.
He notes that another Ditto management client, Big Zuu, has now become a “bankable A-list TV regular” in UK broadcast circles.
“Although we’ve always been inundated with [acquisition inquiries], our ethos is DIY – and we’re proud to remain one of the few companies that practice what we preach.”
Lee Parsons, Ditto Music
When asked if Ditto has faced acquisition bids of its own in recent years, Lee Parsons adds: “We started Ditto with one customer and built consistently to make sure we were a profitable company. Although we’ve always been inundated with [acquisition inquiries], our ethos is DIY – and we’re proud to remain one of the few companies that practice what we preach.
“Our independent and artist-focused approach along with our track record of chart success demonstrates Ditto Music’s commitment to providing artists with unparalleled support and opportunities for growth.”
Ditto’s latest push to expand its reach globally, claims Lee Parsons – who also runs the Opulous Web 3.0 platform – “presents unparalleled career opportunities for individuals passionate about music and its business”.
Self-releasing artists using services like Ditto Music, TuneCore, United Masters and others generated a record $1.78 billion in royalties globally in 2022, up 16.6% YoY, according to Midia Research estimates.Music Business Worldwide