Venice collaborators receive free support and payouts - regardless of membership status. In this article, we're covering Venice Splits and how they...
Past, Present, and Future: The Story of Venice Music
When sitting down with founders and innovators Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo, it’s hard not to think about the classic paradox “unstoppable force meets immovable object.” Carter and Ryoo have been changing what it takes to thrive as an artist within the complex music industry since they joined forces six years ago to build Atom Factory, the talent management company behind Meghan Trainor, Charlie Puth, and Kamasi Washington.
Now, through a vision of empowering independent musicians, the two music tech pioneers are positively disrupting the music industry through Venice Music. Venice is an all-in-one music distribution platform that provides intuitive tools for distributing music, monitoring streaming performance, and growing the careers of independent musicians. Independent artists, producers, managers, and creatives have access to two Venice membership options - the Essentials and Professional memberships. The Essentials membership gives members access to premium distribution features that other distributors often upcharge for, including pocketing 100% of streaming royalties, free collaborator support, free YouTube Content ID to unlimited tracks, distribution in Dolby Atmos, and real-time streaming analytics. The Professional membership is centered around growth, giving members access to panels led by industry veterans, networking opportunities, submission to Venice’s sync library, access to Venice’s artist services and sync teams through small-group office hours, and more.
We recently sat down with Carter and Ryoo to learn more about how Venice got it's start, current initiatives, and what the future of Venice holds.
What’s the background behind the name ‘Venice Music’?
Troy: One day I was in the shower, where all good ideas come, and the name Venice came to mind. I think a lot about the Renaissance and the city of Venice and its bridges. Suzy and I have built bridges together throughout our careers; whether it’s between Silicon Valley and LA, music and technology, or entrepreneurs and investors, we always have built these bridges. Venice Music came around this idea of Renaissance and being able to build bridges together.
Upon joining forces, was there a particular lightbulb moment that made you realize you wanted to form Venice Music and help independent artists?
Suzy: That lightbulb moment of establishing our company and betting on ourselves was a culmination of Troy’s entire entrepreneurial career. Troy recently served as Global Head of Creator Services at Spotify, where he was plotting out the future of music and the music industry. I was on “Team Troy” at Atom Factory during this time. After Spotify went public and Troy came out of the company, he went on a “creative vacation” and ventured to Africa, Hong Kong, and China at the same time Musical.ly was transitioning to TikTok. Together we visited the global headquarters of Bytedance, and we were incredibly excited about the future of music. We believed that the direction of music would go more independent and global. A couple of months after this trip, we sat down and asked ourselves, “How can we spend our time?”. From there, we decided to build a new company from scratch that would use the intersection of music and technology to empower independence.
Venice launched with an NFT-gated members’ club, establishing its footprint within Web3’s music space. Can you talk us through your decision to incorporate NFTs into that initial application process?
Troy: I’ve always been fascinated by certain elements of Web3. With the rise of Hip-Hop, there was a culture of independence, entrepreneurship, and an attitude of “us against the world.’ I saw that same thing when I started investing in technology. In 2010 you saw this revolution in Silicon Valley as mobile technology began to hit with companies like Uber, Lyft, and Dropbox. Web3 has a similar ethos, but the difference with Web3 is there’s a community surrounding it, which is a missing piece within the music industry. The music industry has a “winner take all” type of mentality. Few people make money as companies get sold, fans aren’t part of the process, and [fans] don’t have equity in projects. I felt we could incorporate certain elements of Web3 into our own music model to help amend those issues. We ultimately wanted the founding members of Venice Music Collective, the NFT holders, to be a part of company projects, initiatives, and what happens next.
What led you to open distribution and artist services to credit card holders?
Troy: Opening our services to a larger community was always a part of our plan. We wanted to do an inclusive offer-in for the founding members that was special and boutique, and then we wanted to open it up to the masses. To open up to the masses, you need more accessible points of entry through credit cards and other payment methods. The past ventures that we’ve built and worked on together have been boutique companies, but we realized that if we can help artists at scale, we’ll be able to make a much larger, more profound impact. We’re excited to help millions of artists reach their potential and grow.
What does the future of Venice and Web3 look like?
Troy: Shifting into Web3 is a natural progression for every company, so I think it’ll be incorporated within most elements of our business, as well as our lifestyles. I don’t think we’re quite there yet and the horizon is long, but I think Venice's shift towards Web3 initiatives is inevitable.
Where do you see the company expanding towards?
Suzy: Right now, we’re in the best place that we’ve ever been as a company and team. My goals revolve around global expansion, and having global and local thinking and strategy embedded into our way of doing business. Music is global and it translates and moves globally, so I'd love to move us forward even a couple notches to meet that growing wave. The goal is to become the premiere community for an independent music ecosystem composed of artists, their managers, producers, creative executives, and labels. We would like to serve that community to recognize that there is power in independence, and they do not have to sacrifice their ownership, royalties, and copyrights.
Troy: Venice Music is about tools, network, and knowledge. These three things really summarize what we’re building here. You have many successful companies that have put a lot of energy and capital into providing tools, but are lacking in providing community and knowledge. Knowledge and a healthy network is what sits at the core to us as founders and as a company. It’s not enough for us to just help an artist get on a playlist if they don’t know how to manage their careers or grow their network. A lot of this artist career management and growth will come from our dedicated artist services team, but we also hope that this growth will come from the community itself. The more ambitious and talented people we pull into the community that are willing to share their experiences and network, the stronger our community will become. Success doesn’t always mean getting on the biggest playlist in the world or doing a global tour. Success can simply be developing a connection with another artist or finding your go-to music producer. That’s where the power of knowledge and network really fuse together, and it’s something we aspire to expand upon as we endeavor towards the future of Venice.
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