In this installment of Out of the Vault, we caught up with Noon Pacific founder, Clark Dinnison, to discuss the vision behind the application and how thinking outside the box helped his company expand.
Read on to learn more about Noon Pacific’s approach to music curation and how Stem’s technology enabled them to pursue a singles-only label.
The way fans listen to music is evolving.
The debate of album-versus-single is certainly not a new one, but it feels more relevant than ever before. In an era where online sharing drives virality, individuals are opting to curate content — from their SoundCloud playlists to their Snapchat story to their Instagram feeds — in order to share what they like with their friends, family and followers. With this model, one great, standalone single leads to playlisting and curating more so than an album does; in short, what was once an album game has now become a singles game.
Clark Dinnison recognized this shift, and decided to create his own music experience through his application, Noon Pacific.
Dissatisfied with the experience that current blogs provided, Dinnison sought to create a space where he could share music that focused on quality over quantity. The outcome resulted in Noon Pacific’s uniquely-simple model: a curated playlist of ten songs, delivered to users every Monday at noon, Pacific time.
Noon Pacific’s infrastructure lent to smooth sailing and natural growth; built on top of SoundCloud’s API, Noon Pacific was able to seamlessly curate playlists with SoundCloud’s help on the licensing and streaming side, which is often an obstacle for aggregators. As the application progressed, Dinnison’s digital digging in the crates for music was supplemented by submissions from artists who had followed his progression, “It started out by just picking through all the blogs, maybe 30–50 of them, just picking through different ones each week and trying to surface the best music,” says Dinnison. “As Noon Pacific got bigger, I started getting a lot of submissions from artists that were pumped on what we were doing.”
With every business comes the challenge to grow and scale your business model, finding ways to expand your product while maintaining the core values of your brand. For Noon Pacific, the next step was catalyzed by the platform’s advisor, James Sealey, who served as the Chief Operating Officer of Three Six Zero Group, the management company that represents talent such as Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris and deadmau5. After considering listening habits and what a new, innovative label could look like, Dinnison and Sealey came up with the idea of a singles-only label.
“We felt like that’s what listening habits are going towards; most people aren’t listening to entire albums these days, they like a couple songs and usually discover them through curators or through playlists. We’re really focused on signing just one song that we really believe in, trying to promote it, distribute it in whatever ways we can and really leverage the technology.”
Creating a label, operationally, can be cumbersome, especially when it comes to distribution. For Noon Pacific, a simple, easy method of distributing content and sharing data and earnings with collaborators was imperative to the success of its label. When looking for a distributor, it became clear that not many were optimized for a high volume of single releases, and none could help to automate the manual accounting process that comes from splitting royalty payments.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/266066760″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
That search changed after Sealey, who led Three Six Zero Group’s investment in Stem, introduced Dinnison to Stem co-founder, Tim Luckow. Stem’s ability to directly distribute to streaming platforms and enable automated splits among collaborators led Noon Pacific to become one of the first record labels to utilize Stem’s technology to power its business:
“Stem’s technology and partnerships with the streaming platforms allows us to make it an easier sell for the artists we’re signing. Music is a pretty antiquated industry, and everything is finally starting to become more efficient. The fact that Stem handles all the splits between us and the artists is probably the biggest sell for Noon Pacific. When we’re releasing a song every week, we have to be on top of the artwork, the ISRCs — everything needs to be quick and simple. Stem’s ease of use, as well as being able to upload songs quickly and efficiently have been the biggest tools for our label so far.”
With Stem’s platform, Noon Pacific is able to pursue its singles-only release structure in the most efficient way possible while reaching new audiences outside of the home it made on SoundCloud. With this expansion comes growth in the label’s main KPI, plays, resulting in better exposure for the artists they work with. Additionally, Noon Pacific’s singles-only approach leaves them with more resources to work with more artists, resulting in the brand not being defined by a single genre.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/270049306″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
For creators and entrepreneurs hoping to one day start their own label, Dinnison’s advice is to set yourself apart:
“It’s easier than you would think. With tools these days, anybody can really do it. I think it’s all about making it unique and making it different and focusing on that factor, not trying to copy what everyone else is doing. Come up with a unique model. Noon Pacific releases new music every week focuses on singles only — no one was really doing that. If you differentiate yourself, put in effort and build a brand around it, then just dive in. You just have to read a lot, study up and everything else will fall into place.”
Learn more about Noon Pacific’s record label here.
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