Interview with Mershad Javan
is a leading global music community where independent artists and labels can showcase talent, boost exposure and monetize content
Mershad, what’s the idea behind Octiive - what led to your founding the company?
There's really two ways to answer this. One is that we provide - in terms of what we do - we provide the largest digital music distribution channel to independent artists and labels worldwide. And that was only be available to major label artists previously. In other words, major labels were the gatekeepers and would really decide who can enter and who can't. And that excluded a lot of talented musicians across the globe, really. So, we wanted to provide the same platform and we - although we have a strategic partnership with a major label, and that's what's unique about us - as an independent distributor, we can provide the same network that once once was only available to major labels. So, in short, what does that mean? If you're a songwriter, if you write a song today and that's what you do best, and you're not really sure about the business end: what happens? How can I get the song out? Our channel takes your song and gets it out to the Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal and hundreds of other retailers in over 140 countries. So that's the first bit. The second reason why we exist is because we're all actually active musicians ourselves. So we've gone through the challenges, we've faced the frustration and we feel that we can relate to our user base better than anyone else, we truly believe that. We've had artists that have been major label artists here - myself included - that went through it and have failed, but felt that, "Hey, we've learned enough and we can put a platform out there and really build a community that can assist really independent musicians and labels across the globe." And we're proud of that.
How are aggregators like Spotify affecting the lives of artists today?
We're gonna bring it a little bit closer for this answer: drastically. We would say drastically. And I'll give you an example: we receive hundreds, if not thousands of e-mails from our user base that will state something like, "Hey, I just I just received my royalties and my statement my reports, and I'm here in Los Angeles but I noticed that I had thousands of streams in Amsterdam - or somewhere in Denmark - and that is something that Spotify needs to be applauded for." And let me preface this by saying: a lot of the retailers do a good job, but we're going to focus on Spotify for this. What they do is they curated music so well, and they plug in new artists into influential playlists that are very closely tied to those songs, or the bands, or the music, that that fan or that consumer already likes. Right. So basically if you like this, you may like this song as well- a new artist. So they get new artists exposure that was once never available, and that helps out tremendously and in a number of ways. That doesn't mean that you're going to all of a sudden have gazillions of dollars of royalties, but it's certainly no boost up your royalties, your streaming, your potential audience and fanbase exposure. And also in addition to that, it helps you make more informed decisions for your career. Eventually, as something that that we're working on as well, eventually it allows you to make better decisions in terms of where you want to tour, where you want to do shows. Hey, if you have this many streams here here are the venues that you should probably look into playing, and so forth. So yes - mad props to Spotify for that.
What has been the response from users and clients of Octiive - how has your clientele changed or grown?
OK. I love this question, mainly because we're such a small organization, we're quite lean and we really rely and depend on our user feedback to improve our service offerings, improve our processes or improve our operations. And part of it is that: we find it incredibly valuable, regardless of if it's constructive criticism, or it's complimenting us - obviously we love both. And the feedback based off of that has been fantastic, simply because there's great ideas that are thrown around, but at the same time the responses of what we've done - our reaction to those type of suggestions, I think has been quite synergetic. So, for example, we're the only company that provides major label distribution channels, to independent artists and labels worldwide. Nobody else can say that. That means most stores, most regions, compared to our other competitors. Secondly: same with our plants. We saw a broken system where some of our competitors do an annual fee for each project: so if you put out an album today, that album today you pay for, and then a year from today you pay for that again. So if you put 10 albums out, you pay 10 times today, and then you pay 10 times again this time next year - and that really adds up, and a lot of artists couldn't justify it. So we wanted to fix that problem, so we did an unlimited upload: doesn't matter how many songs you upload this year, you pay one fee - one annual fee, a small annual fee - and you can upload as many songs and products as you want. So the feedback is tremendous.
What's next for your work with Octiive- what will be your main focus throughout the next year?
OK, so what's next for us? A lot! Now that we've identified the core service offering we have - the digital music distribution network - what we really want to focus on is really tightening up and gluing this global community - independent musician's community worldwide - in different ways. From a marketing promotional standpoint, from data analytic - giving you intelligence - and a lot of different types of data that helps you make more sound decisions, as an artist, as a band. Or if you're the manager for them: there's spikes here and there in terms of your music - what does that mean, how can you capitalize off of that? How can you gain more fan base and really feed into that audience by maybe playing there, or scheduling your tour based on those regions. And also collaborative tool - we're keeping that still quite a bit under under the radar - but ways where you can connect and collaborate, cloud-based with other writers across the globe without ever having met - or maybe even potential without ever meeting! But writing a song together and really inviting people to help you write a song, just because you've exhausted the local resources, or you're just you're tired of it or you just want expand out a little bit. And being able to connect with somebody in the UK because you love Coldplay and you want to have that type of energy behind a song. And we're making it incredibly user friendly, and just a seamless - and hopefully very streamlined - way for you to be able to do that and achieve those goals, and it really goes back to that community of providing artists with the utmost resources to build a career in music. That's our goal.