In these weird and uncertain time, many people are turning to music. People are listening to it, and producers are making it, and so House of Tracks has never been more vital. It is a vast platform that has seen an 85% increase in track submissions by artists looking to have their music licensed by the gaming industry, advertising agencies, YouTubers, video editors and program makers. Because of this an all new website has been launched with many new features including a filter based search engine and a custom upload system. All uploaded tracks are checked by hand and finger printed and all producers have to be approved through auditioning in order to start selling their tracks on House of Tracks, which means quality level stay high. Here we speak to the CEO behind the site for more information...
What was the initial idea of House of Tracks and who started it?
Eight years ago, I made a living as DJ Onnik, and later as DJ Billy Mason, and played several festivals in Holland. For over eight years I had been producing tracks in my studio as well. But then, the economical crisis hit. Being a husband and a father of two with a mortgage, I decided it was time to find new ways to earn a living and provide for my family. I had an idea. Some of the tracks I produced I had never released and were gathering dust on my hard drive and I made the decision to start selling them.
I reached out to my DJ network and offered them my tracks – under certain conditions. That idea turned out to be a good one. In no time I had sold all of my tracks as ghost productions, and I couldn’t keep up with the requests. Being an entrepreneur, there was only one thing I could logically do. I decided to make a business out of it.
While everyone around me advised to start small, I stubbornly chose another path. I had done some research into ghost producing and found out that, although it had been around for many years, there was no online platform. A market gap. So, I wanted to go big, fast. I recruited a web designer, installed myself into an office and collected a steady group of talented ghost producersto start the House of Tracks (still growing) catalogue. And with that, House of Tracks was born!
Can you explain the concept, how it works?
Producers can create a label on the House of Tracks platform. After auditioning and screening by our A&R team, they can start selling their tracks on the platform. All tracks are individually assessed by our professionals as well before going online. They are also identified and matched by our partner Dj monitor and it’s database with over 80 million tracks. This is one of the ways we ensure all tracks sold on House of Tracks are original and never released before.
Once a track is sold, the earnings are immediately transferred to the producer. 95% of the tracks on House of Tracks is royalty free. Needless to say, all tracks are limited to one copy. Buyers can browse through our catalogue and listen to all tracks. When they find a track they want to buy, they create an account. After that they can purchase the desired track and download the track and all its stems. They can use their track for anything, for example, as a ghost production, in a game, a movie, commercials, or as music for singer-songwriters.
How many people work at House of Tracks? What do they do day to day?
We are a steady group of seven. I am CEO and run the business. Ray is product manager and knows all about our statistics and numbers. Sascha is our inhouse programmer. She builds, manages and maintains our website and our software. Tijl and Lars are on top of A&R and customer service. These are the guys that will answer all of your questions and that asses our producers and their tracks. There is little they don’t know about dance music and our platform. Edwin is our creative designer. He is responsible for the look and feel of our new website. Vera is all about communication and PR. She writes all of our webpages, blogs and press releases.
Who is the site for – producers of all styles and sounds and ages?
We have a very diverse group of buyers, including Dj’s, producers, YouTubers, the gaming industry, advertising agencies, editors and singer-songwriters.
Our group of producers is at least as diverse. We have over twenty music genres on the platform. Some producers have focused on one genre, while others produce more than one type of music. Not just anyone can sell on House of Tracks. They need to be approved by our A&R team and will be screened. They also have to audition, and need to have somewhat of a reputation. We select and screen all of our producers ourselves to ensure the highest quality.
How can people monetise their music on the platform?
When our producers create a track they want to sell, they have to upload it onto the platform. This process uses software that was created by us. And with our new website, the upload process will be even more automated, fast and user friendly. After the track is assessed by our A&R team it will appear on the website where anyone can buy it. Our producers set their own price and decide if they want to sell the right as well. Once sold, the earnings are automatically transferred to the producer immediately.
Tell us how coronavirus has affected your company – are you still able to for remotely?
We thought we would be hit hard as well, like many others in the industry. That our company might not even survive. Unlike food and shelter, after all, music is not a prime necessity. (Although we would beg to differ.) But we couldn’t have been more wrong. In the last few weeks, our offering and demand has even increased. It turns out people do need music after all. Our day to day did change a lot. We are all working remote, instead of together in our office in Zaandam. We absolutely miss working as a team. But we are doing alright, making good use of digital resources and try to talk to each other daily.
And I read you have had many more tracks submitted since lockdown?
Yes, certainly. New producers sign up each day, and they are selling more music than usual. Some are generating a fulltime income through the platform. During this global lockdown, a lot of them have more time to create music. And making music is a welcome creative outlet in these difficult times. The supply is big, and it’s growing. Well-known names are making more music as well, being unable to perform at festivals and events and therefor having extra time. They too are discovering that they’re able to generate a good income through selling their music through House of Tracks.
Tell us about the newly launched website and its features.
Because our buyers are getting more and more diverse, it’s not just DJ’s and singer-songwriters anymore, we wanted to launch a new website. It contains a new and custom designed search system that enables buyers to find very specific music. We also have a new custom upload system. It makes the uploading process easier and it makes it almost impossible to upload incorrectly, which accelerates the process even more. Our producers are very happy with it, and so are we. We designed and built the software ourselves and are very proud of it. It’s next level, there is nothing like it yet.
How has the company had to evolve and change over the years as the digital world has grown?
We have always been digital only. Our business is 100% online. In that way, we didn’t have to evolve. But we never stop evolving when it comes to staying on top of trends. We have a close eye on the market and always try to be the first to spot and implement trends.
What other innovations might you have up your sleeve in future?
We are working on a very exciting new project, which I can’t say too much about right now. But it will have to do with dance music and we feel like it is going to be big. I’m hoping we can share more news about this soon!