Service connects unsigned artists and record labels

DistroKid, the world’s leading distributor of independent music, has announced that they have launched Upstream, a revolutionary new product that provides record labels and artists looking to be signed with a powerful new way to find each other. Upstream allows artists who opt-in to automatically share their streaming data with approved record labels. Republic Records, home to such artists as Ariana Grande, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and others, is the first label announced to participate in Upstream.

Upstream is free for DistroKid members, does not take any rights or earnings from artists, and there is no obligation to opt-in. Artists can join Upstream with the click of a button and can opt-out just as easily at any time.

“Millions of artists rely on DistroKid and often ask for help getting noticed by record labels,” states DistroKid Founder and CEO, Philip Kaplan. “And record labels have approached us about finding efficient ways to identify talent in the DistroKid community. With demand on both sides, it made sense to play matchmaker. And by forming a relationships with the industry’s leading labels, DistroKid artists are able to identify potential partners who can accelerate their careers.” Kaplan announced the program this morning in a blog post to DistroKid clients.

DistroKid has tapped music industry veteran Ché Pope to head the new Upstream initiative. Pope previously served as A&R at Warner Music, and was COO at Kanye West’s record label, G.O.O.D. Music. A GRAMMY Award-winning producer, Pope has worked with such musical superstars as Lauryn Hill, Eminem, Teddy Riley, Dr. Dre, Hans Zimmer, ASAP Rocky and The Weeknd. In his role at DistroKid, Pope will work closely with the labels that join Upstream, and act as an advocate for artists who opt-in.

“Ché is a visionary with unparalleled experience & insight as an artist, label exec, and technologist,” states Kaplan. “He will be hugely valuable to Upstream label clients, and his foresight into helping artists get a fair deal is trailblazing. Ché is awesome.”

“Philip and his team have built DistroKid into a phenomenon that more than two million unsigned artists rely on, with thousands more joining every day,” Pope adds. “For those artists who want to be noticed, Upstream provides a powerful way to connect with record labels. For labels, Upstream opens a window into a cache of data that can help identify promising artists early in their career. I believe this will be a game-changer for both artists and record labels and I couldn’t be happier that a world-class label like Republic Records will be our inaugural partner.”

“Republic’s track record of discovering and investing in artists and developing them into global names is unparalleled,” says Avery Lipman, Founder & President, Republic Records. “Upstream provides us with artist insights we can combine with existing sources of data and insights to cast an even wider net with respect to identifying great emerging talent. However, data only gets you so far and our success has been based on our unique ability to identify passion and translate that into worldwide creative and commercial success for our artists. We look forward to working with Philip, Ché, and the team at DistroKid to identify a new vanguard of superstars together.”

Founded in 2013, DistroKid distributes approximately one-third of all new music in the world. They have built their business on providing musicians, managers and record labels with online tools and services that are innovative, easy-to-use, and affordable. More than two million artists rely on DistroKid, including hobbyists, up-and-coming musicians, top influencers, and international stars like 21 Savage, Ludacris, Arizona Zervas, Will Smith and Tom Waits, to name a few. DistroKid’s expanding array of services include music distribution, monetization, metadata customization, storage, and promotion. DistroKid’s small staff, coupled with largely automated backend, has enabled DistroKid to process nearly 20 million songs, while simultaneously providing fast, personal & friendly customer service to artists of every size.