Being a rock star isn’t easy. It may seem glamorous, but behind a single person is an army of business and music professionals working together on a single product: a star. And behind that army is an arsenal of technology. Though record labels have a complicated relationship with file sharing technology, they’ve been able to leverage the cloud to prevent album leaks.
In fact, a number of artists and record labels have used secure file sharing tools to protect their content. For instance, Beyonce’s latest album, produced by Columbia Records, used a tool to keep her self-titled album under wraps until it was ready to be released. What type of content could be shared? Audio files. Cover art. Artist/band images. Logos. Contracts. Legal documents.
So, how are labels taking advantage of the file sharing and management technology on the market? Keep reading to learn how record labels are governing files that they exchange with artists, marketing agencies, media outlets and other parties…
A (Brief) Synopsis of the Music Industry
With the advent of the 360 deal, labels are now privy to more personal data than ever before. The 360 deal (also known as a multiple rights deal) allows the record label to take a portion of money from each of the musician’s revenue streams. Before, labels only managed various aspects of music. Now they are invested in the merchandise, sponsorships, tours, social media, marketing, tv appearances and digital sales of an artist.
Despite the increase in data flow, the music industry has been slow to adapt to the increasing need for cybersecurity. In fact, with the collapse of many major record labels, some companies are looking to reduce costs. This includes outsourcing IT. But this presents a problem: outsourcing IT makes record labels more vulnerable to data breaches, and with the constant flow of proprietary information, outsourcing could be a costly move.
So, What Should Record Labels Do?
The solution requires a centralized secure file sharing system that can handle many departments without compromising security. Under all of the board members, CEO, and VPs, there lie multiple departments: Artist & Repertoire (A&R), Marketing and Promotions, Music Production, Sales and Distribution, Business and Legal Affairs, and Artist Relations. These departments work together sending technical riders, contracts, music samples and marketing materials to national and global media and production partners.
Working with multiple contacts can become overwhelming when trying to transfer hundreds of files daily. Producers may try to send large audio files over email, but tracking these files is almost impossible without a centralized secure file sharing tool to govern and manage file access and exchange. This opens a gateway to lost and stolen data.
For jazz and funk producer, Michael Slonim, managing and sharing his projects is of the utmost importance:
In my work as a producer, I collaborate with a lot of artists over long distances–some across a few states, some overseas. For these kinds of projects, having a file sharing platform with no size limit is absolutely vital. My artist and I can send each other full .WAV files of tracks, or even session data, which allows us to work together much more smoothly. Extra security is also crucial, to ensure the security of our projects until they are ready for release. A good file sharing platform opens up all kinds of new creative possibilities.
Wait, Why Can’t I Just Send Large Audio Files Over Email?
During the album production process, the artist, producer and label must collaborate on the recording session tracks. Uncondensed, these files are typically too large to share via email. However, producers may be tempted to condense the files and send them in an email thread.
For the artist or label who isn’t ready to release the album, or wants to keep the content private (no leaks to the public fanbase) email is not a secure option. The Multiplication Effect of Email is an issue for the information and attachments that are stored as the email moves along its path. Emails can be stored in the sent items, backup, spam or security filter, mail servers, mail server backups, phones, and archives. This trail poses a threat to uncopyrighted work and production collaboration.
The Solution In Action
SmartFile provides a secure file sharing solution that the fast-paced music industry can implement immediately. Sharing raw music files straight from the production studio via email is cumbersome, and most of these files are too large to even send in traditional email platforms. To remedy this, labels can add an upload link to a folder on SmartFile and send it producers. The producers can easily add their files for the labels approval. This streamlines the process of finding the right mix and master that the artist, label and producers can agree to.
For an artist crafting original lyrics, security is a necessity. Until the lyrics are copyrighted, artists can password-protect their documents as they share them with A&R. Furthermore, A&R can use the secure portal as they work with Business and Legal Affairs to aid in the negotiation of artist contracts.
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Once a label has signed multiple artists, each of these artists can upload to the same server without seeing each other’s work. This is thanks to granular user permissions that managers can set. These permissions dictate what a user can view or manage. Download limits provide an added layer of security for an organization that deals primarily with intellectual property.
Major labels that buy independent labels, or have multiple subsidiaries can leverage the multisite feature by siloing (singling) a site for each entity. These sites can also be custom-branded as to allow autonomous operations for the subsidiaries, while still being in the security and compliance blanket of the parent label’s IT department.
For additional security, the file sharing tool can be bolted onto existing IT infrastructure. SmartFile can connect to existing primary storage to aid in the governance and management of files without needing to move them to a cloud product. If you’re interested in this, please feel free to chat with our sales team to learn more.
A Secure File Sharing Solution for the Music Industry
We want to help you discover the right solution to fit your record label, management, production company or freelance career. Try out the 14-day free trial for your next creative project to see how SmartFile’s secure file sharing can streamline work process and transform your collaborations.