Talk with Maxence Pepin about the new version of the platform
For those working in the modern music industry, it has become apparent that the technology and processes in place for music releases are outdated and in dire need of a refresh.
The newly launched Releese platform aims to be the solution for the next generation of music professionals as the first and only platform of its kind, streamlining core music industry business practices by providing a fully integrated platform that replaces the need to sign up for multiple individual services. . Their goal is to put the control back in the hands of the creator by offering a comprehensive suite of tools that command productivity, efficiency, and transparency.
According to Releese CEO Maxence Pepin, “We’ve combined the tools to create a music business that collaborates and distributes globally while connecting all layers of the industry with a creator-focused mindset. .”
Releese brings together your marketing, distribution, communication, metadata and files in one convenient dashboard accessible from anywhere. Their suite of connected products enables teams to manage and scale music industry operations. Manage all of your music business in one place. Plan projects, share them with your team, and distribute them, all with Releese. It is designed to help artists, record labels, artist managers and their teams structure their business and assets, automate their workflow and communicate effectively between team members and collaborators.
CelebMix sat down with Maxence Pepin to learn more about the genesis of Releese, the challenges of designing such a platform, and the changes the music industry needs to make.
Hello Max, congratulations on the launch of Releese. Before entering the platform, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello and thank you for having me. My name is Maxence, I’m located in Montreal, Quebec, and I have a passion for music and technology. I’ve been active in the music industry since 2017, started as an artist under the alias Midsplit and quickly became part of the indie dance community through Facebook groups. I worked for a few independent record labels, namely Tropikult, Strange Fruits, ChillYourMind. I co-own Sadboy Records and ran my own independent label called Hinky.
How did you find the concept of Releese?
During my time at ChillYourMind, I wanted to evolve the company and its internal operations. At the time, we were releasing a few singles a month and promoting them mostly on YouTube and Spotify. I managed to grow the team from 3 to 8 people in a matter of months and created our internal operations setup using “traditional” business tools such as Slack and Asana. While these tools could get the job done, they weren’t really made for music because they lacked the means to collaborate with our artists and manage music releases.
When the operations were in place and we had signed a solid distribution agreement, I decided to leave my position to start my next journey. That’s when I had an “Aha!” moment: What if we build a platform where the music industry gets to work?
The platform seems to be something of a one-stop-shop for the music industry. For the independent artist, how can Releese be beneficial?
Releese is definitely a one-stop-shop for creators and music industry professionals to manage their music business. Our platform is beneficial for creators as it allows them to consolidate several tools that they would need to manage their career and have access to them in one place. Our early adopters (who are mostly artists) have mentioned that they feel much more productive and safer using Releese because it essentially allows them to have their careers on their phone.
While this is all great, we wanted to push things further to put music industry creators first, so we implemented unique technologies that command transparency and accountability: smart contracts and splits must be agreed by all shareholders before they can distribute or publish music from the platform, each shareholder of a recording has access to real-time streaming and financial analysis, and we also give the possibility to artists who would join our platform form through a record label to access services such as music publishing and neighboring rights collection that often take place behind closed doors on invite-only platforms.
And for everyone else?
Our platform is creator-focused, but it’s certainly not exclusive to creators. Many of our members are actually record labels who share our idea of what the music industry should be like.
Our early record label members have seen their relationship with creators improve dramatically due to the level of transparency and communication our platform provides. Artists felt like they had an easy way to hit their record label and knew exactly what was going on with their releases.
These teams have also seen a big improvement in productivity and scalability, our platform is designed to handle teams of 50+ people working together in real time, and organizing things in Releese is extremely intuitive and makes storing assets and internal or external collaboration a breeze.
Who are the hottest personalities using the platform right now?
We have many personalities using the platform: Trap City (over 12 million subscribers), Drama B (over 1 million monthly listeners), Urbanstep (over 100 million views).
How do you see Releese evolving in the distant future?
I see Releese becoming the go-to platform for working in the music industry, and that’s really where we’re trying to push it. We’ve been actively listening to our community and that’s really what seems to set us apart from a traditional distributor, publisher, CRM or music marketing platform. Having everything managed from one place opens up possibilities for automation and integrations and gives more leverage to our users over non-users.
We have an exciting 18 month roadmap which we will unveil in the near future to show just what we have in store. I believe our platform will help accelerate the post-pandemic music industry rebound and provide a healthy alternative to traditional music industry roles.
What do you think has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned launching the platform so far?
The biggest lesson I learned from concept to launch day is to persevere and learn, no matter how tough things get. I had many sleepless nights and was overwhelmed to the point of shaking several times during our 18 month journey. I managed to learn things I never dreamed of knowing and I have a very unique skill set. I thought I knew a lot about what I was doing and quickly realized that I didn’t know anything about it, and that surrounding yourself with people who can teach you something is of utmost importance.
What has been the biggest challenge?
After 6 months of construction, we ran out of funding. Needless to say, our platform was far from a usable product. I decided to learn how to write code, I learned how cloud infrastructures work, I learned how to build a team and I finally managed to lead the platform to the finish line with a smaller team that I supported by constantly going into debt and selling marketing services. I consider it a miracle that we survived that 12 month period, honestly I don’t think we had all the odds in our favour.
As an entrepreneur, where/how do you seek inspiration?
I might have given the impression that I think of the music industry as this horrible place where people don’t trust each other and that pure evil controls everything, but the music industry is full of people benevolent people who want to see art grow and advance. I had the opportunity to work with one of my inspirations as an entrepreneur: Stef Van Vugt, also known as Steve Void and founder of Strange Fruits.
I learned a lot about music, business, the music industry, growth, and the importance of putting artists first and creating a great product. I’m also a huge fan of Steve Jobs (how generic I know) he epitomizes what it means to create a great product by any means necessary and the importance of having beauty within a company . We spent so much time making sure our platform looked and felt great, and it’s really thanks to these 2 people.
How do you think the music industry needs to change?
I don’t believe the music industry needs to change a whole lot to be in a much better place. There are a few outdated practices like 360 agreements, exclusivity periods, and other loose practices that lock creators in in a way often seen as immoral and non-existent outside of music that needs to stop. The fact that these agreements are called operating periods says a lot.
Many companies try to solve problems in a different way than we do, and we are confident that the future will be bright. Many of these old practices will disappear as new ways of working, collaborating and growing emerge. I think there are many projects in the web 3.0 space that are encouraging and share a similar ideology as Releese.
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