Robb McDaniels – Billboard’s Opinion Think Tank: Streaming Services

See it here on

How Streaming Will Result In More Revenue All Around

Four years ago I wrote an opinion piece in Billboard warning of the cash-flow crisis that would hit when consumers realized the massive value proposition that streaming subscription services offer. It may have taken longer than I expected, but it is firmly upon us. Despite all the negative press about the low per-stream rate, Spotify is now the No. 2 digital retailer for most labels in terms of income.
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Beats Music (as of next week) and many others have launched streaming subscription options for their customers. All told, streaming revenue makes up approximately one-quarter of all income for most content owners, having quadrupled in the last two years. So what is the short-term impact, and how long will it last? Longer term, what does this mean for the average label and artist?

As one of the world’s largest distributors of independent music, INgrooves is uniquely positioned to monitor and evaluate the early impact of the consumer shift from downloads to the access anything, anywhere, anytime format inherent in streaming subscription services. But will such services equal increased revenue? It will, especially for the indies and for the prolific, active artists out there. Here’s why:

  • The average consumer spends about $40 per year on recorded music. If the average consumer signs up for a streaming service, he or she will spend as much as $120 per year ($10 per month times 12 months), making the “pot” to share three times larger.
  • The early adopters of streaming services are, generally, high-volume purchasers of music who are indie-leaning and tech-savvy. They know there’s no reason to spend $9.99 on an album when they can pay that amount per month and get access to 2 million albums. As a result, there is a disproportionate impact of the shift to streaming on the indie side compared with major labels that focus on genres that target an older, more mainstream demographic.
  • It’s not all bad news for the indies: INgrooves’ market share on Spotify is nearly double what it is on Nielsen SoundScan. This is likely due to the type of consumer (e.g., indie, hipster) signing up for streaming services, and the fact that there’s great experimentation and passive listening available through these services.
  • Remember, $40 is the average, which means half the country is spending a lot less than $40 per month on music because they’re infrequent consumers. If we can reach the tipping point where the low-volume music consumer is spending $120 per year on streaming, then we’ll also start to see the pot of revenue enlarge and the average per-stream royalty rise.

For the next 12-18 months, we’re likely to see physical and download sales decay faster than usual after the holiday season and the shift to streaming continue to accelerate, but not enough to make up the difference.

Based on our analysis of the decay rates and new subscriber growth for streaming services, we’re predicting that we’ll return to last summer’s peak sales levels by late 2014, not counting growth by international expansion and sales from new clients. This means that, for much of the year, artists and labels will have to more proactively manage cash flow, marketing spends and ensure they’re aggressively pursuing all sources of revenue.

Some will be less affected by this newest paradigm shift. For example, international markets, where downloading never truly took off and piracy was rampant, will benefit from streaming’s availability in their countries. Certain genres like country and classical will also likely see a slower shift from their hardcore fans. However, this shift is going to be more dramatic and meaningful than the format shift from physical to digital downloads.

The value proposition for the consumer is just simply too appealing to have any other outcome, and in digital media, the consumer always wins.

Robb McDaniels is founder/CEO of INgrooves Music Group.

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311 Going Indie for March Album (Billboard Exclusive)


Read about it on Billboard.

The Omaha rockers will release their 11th LP in conjunction with 311 Day, taking place in New Orleans

It may be the band’s 11th album, but 311’s first new release in nearly three years will be a first for the Nebraska rockers: fully independent.

The band confirmed today (Dec. 16) the upcoming release of its next album, its first to be released solely on its own 311 Records. The currently-untitled LP has a March 11 due date.

Indie status may be a relatively unfamiliar concept for the reggae-tinged rock act after years of being signed to a major label, but frontman Nick Hexum says it’s one of the best moves 311 could have possibly made — especially after forming an agreement with INgrooves, which will distribute the album.

“It’s a distribution with services, which is so cool because they let you pick… alright, do you guys want to spend money on this type of promotion or that type of promotion?” Hexum tells Billboard. “It really allows us to feel involved and we can make sure that we’re being represented in a way that we want and we think is effective.

“The label system is corrupt; they’re so incompetent with their ability to bring any value to the table. It’s just a rip-off.”

Though little can be revealed about the album beyond its drop date, Hexum confirms that there’s a renewed sense of creativity that abounds with the untitled release, which he says was recorded mostly separately in each band member’s home studio after its summer tour in 2013.

“It feels less conservative to me,” he says, admitting the album takes some “left turns” and will at times explore some “weird” sounds. “But as always, there’s a lot of riffs and really good high energy stuff that’s going to be great for a live setting. We realized a long time ago that we’re primarily a live band, but I didn’t want to get too locked into just making crowd rockers. So I think there’s a good diversity of tempos and feels and arrangements, lots of distortion guitar and big rocking parts but then there’s some trippy, chill-out moments and even some hard rock, like dual leads that some might say could sound like some old classic rock.”

The album marks the return of producer Scotch Ralston, who more recently acted as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ soundman. Ralston was behind some of the five-piece’s earlier releases, like 1997’s “Transistor” and 1999’s “Soundsystem.”

“We asked him to come back and run sound for us, and it really improved our live sound,” Hexum explains. “The fans noticed that. Because he did the ‘Transistor’ album, which is kind of our most beloved fan favorite because it’s so eclectic and everything, there was a lot of excitement from the fans about that kind of creativity coming back in with him. So we started talking about new songs and he had so many ideas and just so much enthusiasm that it was like a steamroller of excitement. So we had to say yes to having him produce us. It turned out to be a great decision.”

All roads currently lead to March 11 — 311 Day — which will be held in its most recent iteration in New Orleans. Along with releasing the new album, the quintet will perform at the New Orleans Arena.

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56th Grammy Awards: Congratulations to our Nominated Partners!


Congratulations to all of our label & artist partners who have been honored with nominations for this year’s 56th Grammy Awards!!

​Category 10 – Best Dance/Electronica Album
A Color Map Of The Sun
Pretty Lights
[8 Minutes 20 Seconds Records]

​Category 16 – Best Alternative Music Album
Tame Impala

​Category 48 – Best Blues Album
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa
[J&R Adventures]

​Category 49 – Best Folk Album
My Favorite Picture Of You
Guy Clark

Sweetheart Of The Sun
The Greencards
[Darling Street Records]

​Category 51 – Best Reggae Album
One Love, One Life
Beres Hammond
[VP Records]

​The Messiah​
[VP Records]

​Category 65 – Best Album Notes
Work Hard, Play Hard, Pray Hard:
Hard Time, Good Time & End Time Music, 1923-1936

Nathan Salsburg, album notes writer (Various Artists)
[Tompkins Square]

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INgrooves Music Group’s Dave Zierler Joins Music Business Association’s Board of Directors


The Music Business Association (Music Biz), formerly NARM and, has added Glenn Dicker, Co-Owner of Redeye Incorporated, and Dave Zierler, President of INgrooves Music Group, to its Board of Directors. These two independent distribution representatives expand the Music Biz Board to 18 members representing different parts of the spectrum of music commerce, including physical and digital as well as content companies.

“Both Glenn and Dave have played a huge part in the music industry’s growth, helping a myriad of young, independent artists find their fanbases through Redeye and INgrooves’ distribution services,” said Jim Donio, President of Music Biz. “Now, as members of our board, they will bring an important voice to the table as we create a vision for the future that is beneficial to all of our members.”

“More and more innovative new music companies are springing up every day, and they need an organization like Music Biz to support their interests and give them a framework for success in today’s dynamic music marketplace,” said Zierler.  “I’m happy to be able to lend my voice to the discussion as a Music Biz board member and am looking forward to getting started.”

Zierler got his start at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he advised Silicon Valley clients, before joining startup venture capital outfit ITU Ventures, which invested in early-stage technology companies emerging from college and university campuses. He entered the music industry when Universal Music Group Distribution created a new division dedicated to business analysis and invited him to join. In 2004, he became the first direct employee of the reactivated Fontana, creating the company’s financial infrastructure and working on all of its major deals. This led to a position as EVP and GM of INgrooves in 2007 and a reunion with Fontana in 2012, when it was acquired by INgrooves.

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INgrooves Shifts Rights Management to HFA’s Slingshot


(New York) HFA, a leading music industry rights management service provider, has been retained by global music distributor INgrooves for a full suite of rights management services.  INgrooves, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, provides music distribution, music publishing, marketing and technology services to the global music community.

Founded in 2002, INgrooves provides independent labels, artists and their managers with worldwide distribution, administration and marketing services to help maximize their impact in the music marketplace.  INgrooves has recently launched a music publishing division to further augment its business model and is transitioning its right management responsibilities from a third party to HFA.

HFA, the go-to source for music licensing, has designed Slingshot, its rights management service, to simplify the licensing and royalty process, accelerate market entry and boost profitability for music distributors.  INgrooves will rely upon Slingshot, powered by HFA’s sophisticated technology platforms, to provide a comprehensive solution for all licensing, data management, royalty processing and payment functions and to ensure a seamless licensing experience.

Michael Simon, President and CEO of HFA, commented:  “We are pleased that INgrooves has chosen to work with us at this exciting time in the company’s development and look forward to supporting their expansion initiatives.   Tapping into Slingshot to handle its rights obligations allows INgrooves to focus on growing its business rather than getting bogged down in the details of the licensing process.”

“HFA is unparalleled in its reputation as a protector of the rights of songwriters and artists,” said INgrooves Co-Founder and General Counsel Matt Burns.  “We are confident that our transition to HFA will be seamless and that they will bring an even higher level of service to our label and artist clients as we continue to expand as a company.”

About HFA

HFA is the nation’s leading provider of rights management, licensing and royalty services for the music industry. With over 46,000 music publishing clients, HFA issues the largest number of licenses for the use of music in both physical and digital distribution formats. HFA also serves the D.I.Y. market with Songfile®, the company’s fast and easy online licensing tool. Slingshot, HFA’s rights management service offering, includes a suite of information management and technology solutions designed to simplify and facilitate the administration of intellectual property rights.
As a technology innovator, HFA is leading the industry in establishing global data standards and is a founding member of the Digital Data Exchange (DDEX). Additionally, for the past four years HFA was recognized by InformationWeek on its Top 500 Relentless Innovators list. For more information about HFA visit and

Songfile, eMechanical and eSong are registered trademarks of The Harry Fox Agency, Inc., all rights reserved.

About INgrooves

INgrooves is a leader in the independent music distribution and marketing industry.  INgrooves distributes digital and physical music content to hundreds of online, mobile and physical retail stores worldwide.    Independent labels, management and artists seeking worldwide distribution, administration, marketing and publishing services rely on INgrooves to maximize their impact in the dynamic music marketplace.  The Company’s proprietary ONE Digital enterprise software platform facilitates real-time asset management, distribution, royalty payments, sales analytics and more for INgrooves label partners. For more information, visit

HFA Contact
Dalita Keumurian
Director of Marketing & Communications

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Billboard’s 2013 40 Under 40: Robb McDaniels




Founder/CEO, INgrooves


Read the article by Ed Christman on Billboard

Since acquiring Fontana from Universal Music Group in 2012, Robb McDaniels, 39, has led the integration of the company into INgrooves, which now has 150 employees and distributes more than 200 labels. Besides adding physical distribution capabilities to the company’s digital side, INgrooves has established marketing service capabilities with the creation of INresidence, which serves such acts as Mazzy Star, Big Black Delta, Kate Nash, Thievery Corporation and Primal Scream, and is just now launching a music publishing company. INgrooves also serves as the digital pipeline for UMG, so along the way last year, the company signed a deal with BMG Rights Management to distribute the Sanctuary and Mute catalogs that it acquired from UMG and began taking in EMI product that UMG acquired for digital delivery. And just to make sure McDaniels doesn’t have any spare time, San Francisco-based INgrooves expanded its product offering to include e-books, and has plans to open offices in Australia, Asia and Germany, in addition to its existing Los Angeles, Victoria, New York and London offices.

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INgrooves Launches Music Publishing Division


Create Locally. Publish Globally.

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) INgrooves announced today that the company has launched a music publishing division to further augment the suite of services available to its more than 4,000 clients worldwide.

The new division will provide INgrooves clients access to a complete array of music publishing services including direct registration and collection with societies worldwide and a suite of creative services from synchronization to A&R. The new music publishing services unit will be seamlessly integrated into INgrooves’ web-based Client Console, giving independent labels and artists complete control, transparency and visibility over their recorded music and publishing copyrights all from a centralized location. Clients will be able to access information about their catalog directly from the INgrooves Client Console, monitoring registrations, collections, royalties and synchs with the touch of a button.

“As the retail ecosystem continues to fragment into multiple sources of revenue for our clients, INgrooves is perfectly positioned to leverage our technology platform and global reach to monetize and collect from these various partners that are also paying copyright owners,” said INgrooves Founder and CEO, Robb McDaniels. “Many INgrooves artists and label clients control some or all of their publishing rights and have asked us to assist them in administering these rights because much of the data that’s needed to effectively identify and collect monies owed is already handled by our ONE Digital platform. This is a natural evolution for us.”

The new division will be headed by Olivier Chastan, former Vice-President of VP Records and President of Greensleeves Records & Publishing, where he worked with artists such as Sean Paul, Rihanna, Jay-Z, The Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Damien Marley, DJ Diplo, No Doubt, Akon, Major Lazer, and 50 Cent among others. “I’m very excited to be joining INgrooves to launch this new endeavor,” said Mr. Chastan. “I have known Robb and the team for over 6 years and am confident that we will deliver a world-class platform and service. Being part of INgrooves will allow me to build the modern and technology-driven publishing operation that I have been envisioning for years. I look forward to offering amazing service to existing INgrooves’ clients and all great writers and artists.”

INgrooves’ partner, the UK-based Sentric Music, will provide some back-end support to INgrooves Music Publishing. Chris Meehan, CEO of Sentric Music, commented: “We’re delighted to provide rights administration and platform services to the INgrooves music publishing team which will allow clients to take advantage of our international direct collection network. Our combined vision for the music rights business, coupled with the synergies between our respective technology platforms, will provide one of the most efficient and advanced music rights services available on the market.”

At launch, INgrooves is already administering more than 5,000 copyrights, exhibiting the enormous potential for this solution. This includes songs by artists such as Moby, Federico Aubele, Metis and N.A.S.A. and publishing catalogs such as Music Dealers and Jamie Oborne’s Dirty Hit Records, home to The 1975 and Fossil Collective among other artists.


INgrooves is a leader in the independent music distribution and marketing industry. INgrooves distributes digital and physical music content to hundreds of online, mobile and physical retail stores worldwide. Independent labels, management and artists seeking worldwide distribution, administration and marketing services rely on INgrooves to maximize their impact in the dynamic music marketplace. The Company’s proprietary ONE Digital enterprise software platform facilitates real-time asset management, distribution, royalty payments, sales analytics and more for INgrooves label partners. For more information, visit


Sentric Music is an award winning UK based independent music publishing company representing over 150,000 songs on behalf of 45,000 songwriters. Sentric’s propriety rights management technology manages song registration, royalty claims and accounting directly in 29 territories as well as providing multiple synchronisation outlets for rights holders. For more information visit or

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Brandon Boyd Unveils Sons of the Sea EP via INgrooves/INresidence Artist Services Today


(LOS ANGELES) Brandon Boyd, front-man of the multi-platinum rock band Incubus, released the debut EP from his new project Sons of the Sea today. Entitled Compass, the four song EP is just a taste of things to come from Boyd, who’s currently in the studio working on a Sons of the Sea full length album scheduled for release this fall.

Both Compass and the full length album will be released on Avow Records and distributed by INgrooves via their artist services division, INresidence. The four-song EP is a collaboration between Boyd and producer Brendan O’Brien. As USA Today said “The tunes evoke the sounds of the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson while still echoing Boyd’s funk-metal style, developed over 20 years as Incubus’ lead vocalist.”

“Sons of the Sea is a truly creative and musically adventurous project,” said Bryan Mead, Senior Vice President of INresidence Artist Services. “We could not ask for better partners in Brandon and his manager Steve Rennie and we look forward to an extremely productive partnership.”

Boyd’s manager Steve Rennie commented, “Although there are a lot of options for artists today, the choice for a partner in this project was very clear to Brandon and me. Bryan and his team at INgrooves offer an unparalleled distribution infrastructure coupled with the kind of knowledgeable and passionate staff that will really empower this project and take it where it needs to go.”

Sons of the Sea is already causing waves in the media. Rolling Stone debuted the first music from the project earlier this month, while USA Today just this week debuted the lyric video for “Space and Time” which can be seen HERE. Other premieres are scheduled from Mashable and

Sons of the Sea’s debut EP, Compass, is available now at all online retailers and streaming services.

For more information please contact:

Sons of the Sea Press Contact

Andrea Bussell at Shorefire at
718.522.7171 x25

INresidence Radio Contact

Michael Plen

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BMG Taps INgrooves to Distribute Mute and Sanctuary Catalogs in the U.S. and Canada


(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) INgrooves, one of the world’s leading global independent music distributors, today announced that it has been chosen by BMG to distribute its newly acquired Mute and Sanctuary catalogs in the U.S. and Canada. Under the new deal, INgrooves will provide physical and digital distribution services including sales, marketing and catalog development for the highly respected labels’ combined rosters, which include such iconic artists as Nick Cave, Moby, Erasure, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, The Kinks and many others.

“Over the last 10 years, we have built both an unparalleled distribution platform that empowers our label partners and a dedicated, passionate staff who are experts in creating value from the repertoire we market and distribute,” said INgrooves Founder and CEO Robb McDaniels. “We are pleased to have been selected by BMG after such a rigorous selection process and are confident that the INgrooves infrastructure and team will deliver maximum benefit for these two great catalogs.”

BMG EVP International Repertoire Fred Casimir said, “We are delighted to be working with INgrooves in the US and Canada to unlock the value in these iconic Sanctuary and Mute recordings.”

INgrooves will begin distributing the Mute and Sanctuary titles beginning on August 1st of this year. Some of the catalog titles are expected to be available in a digital format for the first time ever.

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INgrooves Adds Two Executives in the UK to Support International Expansion

Dominic Jones Named as Director, Sales & Marketing and Toby Peacock as Director, International Label and Project Management

Alex Branson, International Managing Director for INgrooves, a leading global independent music distributor, announced today the appointment of two executives to the company’s London-based staff. Dominic Jones and Toby Peacock join the company to head up the expanding Sales & Marketing and Client Services teams outside North America.

Dominic Jones has been appointed to the position of Director of Sales & Marketing at the company. In this newly created role, Mr. Jones will oversee all Sales & Marketing activities for the company’s international territories, working closely with labels and artists to ensure maximum visibility for INgrooves’ distributed projects. Mr. Jones’ appointment comes ahead of the company’s planned expansion into continental Europe and Australasia.

Mr. Jones comes to INgrooves after running a successful consulting business where he worked with important independent labels and businesses including Eagle Rock Entertainment, Just Music, Angel Falls Records and Green Queen Music. During the last year he also set up and ran the new European office of Nashville-based distributor, Thirty Tigers. Prior to that he served as head of Distribution at Proper Music Distribution and also spent a significant period at Pinnacle Entertainment.

“Dominic brings 25 years of experience in digital and physical music distribution and marketing,” said Mr. Branson. “His breadth of knowledge will be an immediate asset to our artists and labels as we expand the list of services internationally to mirror our successful format in North America”

Toby Peacock has been named Director, International Label and Project Management. In this newly created role, Mr. Peacock will oversee creative promotion initiatives to enhance existing clients’ sales and be proactive in bringing new labels to the company’s roster.

In addition, Mr. Peacock will act as product manager for all INresidence Artist Services projects outside of North America, working closely with the Los Angeles based services group to execute promotional plans. He will also spearhead outreach to the European manager community to source new projects for INresidence. An initial group of international projects are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Mr. Peacock spent much of the past seven years at [PIAS] Entertainment Group, the European independent music group. He served in a variety of capacities including Head of Creative and Product Management. Prior to that he was a label manager at Wall of Sound Recordings, where he also served as a product manager and various other capacities at the label.

“Toby has both the passion and the kind of vast experience that have made him a highly respected music executive,” said Mr. Branson. “We are pleased to have him aboard as we continue to expand our operations and list of services into new territories around the world.

Both executives will be based in INgrooves’ London offices.

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