ONerpm has conquered the Brazilian streaming market. Now he’s taking over the world.
Which record company had the most positions in Spotify’s Weekly Top 200 in Brazil in the first half of this year: Universal Music, Sony Music or Warner Music?
Trick question. sony technically had the most, if you include Brazilian label Som Livre, which the major acquired for $255 million last year.
But if you counted Sony Music (and The Orchard) and Som Livre separately, the #1 company on this particular list isn’t a big music company at all: it’s ONerpm.
Based in Nashville ONerpm was founded 12 years ago this month by entrepreneur (and company CEO) Emmanuel Zunz. From the start, the company targeted Brazil as its priority market.
“Brazil was the first office we opened in July 2010,” recalls Zunz, who studied in the Latin American country.
“We were probably the first company to establish itself in Brazil and to offer a musical DIY platform that was both open to all and transparent. And at the time, we were very rare because we paid people!
Today ONerpm is well beyond its beginnings as a DIY distribution. The company still runs a DIY level, but – somewhat similar to Believe’s model – it also invests more heavily in a smaller group of artists, much like a label would.
Some artists (those in what ONerpm calls its “Taking Off” level) receive advances and receive internal marketing/PR/playlisting support to accelerate their careers; others (“Next Level”) might even share copyright ownership with ONErpm and receive a higher level of investment.
Today, with a global workforce of more than 450 people – and a dedicated A&R staff of more than 60 people – the company says it is aggressively seeking new business from all corners of the music market.
Additionally, over the past few years, ONErpm has quietly acquired copyright catalogs from artists and labels, with Zunz estimating that “owned” or “partly owned” copyrights are now a percentage to a significant digit of the ONerpm directory.
By building this model over the past twelve years and expanding to territories such as the United States, Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Argentina, Spain, United Kingdom, Australia and Nigeria, ONerpm – according to MBW sources – is a profitable and fully independent company. business (i.e. no venture capital). It currently operates in no fewer than 30 global territories (see below).
MBW’s sources also tell us that on a gross revenue basis, ONErpm brings in a nine figure sum a year – although obviously the majority of this sum is paid out in the form of royalties to artists and labels.
Zunz won’t be pulled on his company’s finances, but says his company’s revenue has increased by 70% last year, and he expects more 30% and more annual growth in 2022.
The scale of the company is obviously impressive – and not just in Latin America.
Zunz says ONErpm artists/tracks are currently attracting around 12 billion plays a month on YouTube, tens of billions readings per month on TikTok, and more 3 billions streams per month on Spotify and Apple Music combined.
You probably don’t need MBW to tell you how clever ONerpm’s initial focus on Brazil was. Zunz says this has given her company a “first-mover advantage” over other companies serving independent artists.
According to IFPI statistics, Brazil was the first 10th largest recorded music market in 2021. And according to local trade body ProMusica, Brazil’s annual streaming subscription revenue grew 28% year-on-year in 2021, to BRL 1.084 billion (about $219 million) .
ONerpm’s success in Brazil is certainly not limited to Spotify: on YouTube, for example, it beat Universal Music and Warner Music in the first half of 2022 in terms of the number of artists distributed taking place in the platform’s weekly Top 100 . (see below).
In turn, ONerpm’s success in LatAm is not limited to Brazil: the company has seen similar levels of major success in countries like Chile, Peru and Colombia. (Based on IFPI statistics for 2021, Zunz estimates that ONErpm took a 20% market share in this territory by revenue last year.)
“We are confident that the ‘creator economy’ and direct-to-fan platforms, including YouTube, will continue to improve the global music industry.”
Emmanuel Zunz, OneRPM
Zunz says, “We’ve built very smart technology that helps us manage all of our marketing campaigns in each territory. Because of that, we have economies of scale, which many of our competitors don’t, including the majors. This means that we are able to provide high quality services to artists at much more affordable rates.
“We are no longer just a distribution company; we are a full-service music company for artists that also offers a distribution solution.
He adds, “We are confident that the ‘creator economy’ and direct-to-fan platforms, including YouTube, will continue to improve the global music industry. We have built a significant infrastructure to support these creators.
For the remainder of 2022, Zunz and his team are focused on expanding the ONerpm model globally.
That plan came to life last month with the announcement that ONerpm was adding five new offices to its Africa facility: in Accra, Ghana; in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; in Nairobi, Kenya; in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and in Johannesburg, South Africa.
These new launches joined ONerpm’s office in Lagos, Nigeria, which the company opened in 2020.
Further expansion is also on the horizon for ONErpm.
“We are in the process of opening up well in Asia, by hiring our first collaborators in China, in Malaysia”, explains Zunz who says that he aims to double the size of ONerpm in the next three or four years.
The gateway to this growth, he explains, will be based on two things:
- (I) Technology that enables ONErpm to effectively scale its artist/social marketing, while providing other premier services to artists worldwide; and
- (ii) The DIY level of the business, which serves as an entry point for tens of thousands of independent artists in all the territories where it operates.
Example: Zunz says that across Africa, following the recent expansion, ONerpm already has over 30,000 different artist accounts distributed through its system.
The next step will be to highlight “Take off” and “Next Level” artists, i.e. artists whose early success indicates that ONerpm should start investing more in their careers.
“There was a race [to acquire] us last year by the majors, and there was a run [to acquire] us this year by private equity firms. None of this interests me. »
Zunz says ONErpm currently works with around a million different artists and labels worldwide, and provides “tailor-made services” (i.e. additional investment and sync/marketing support /RP/playlisting) to somewhere between 2% and 5% of them.
“We’re a full-service music company that really knows how to market your music,” says Zunz. “For our artists and creators, we can be everything from your distributor to your record label, and everything in between.
“We are one of the last truly independent music companies of this size in existence. So many other companies our size have been bought, and it’s kind of scary.
“We fully intend to remain independent,” he adds. “There was a race [to acquire] us last year by the majors, and there was a run [to acquire] us this year by private equity firms. None of this interests me.
“What interests me is doubling the size of ONerpm and expanding into all these different markets – we will have 33 offices open worldwide by the end of this year.
“That way we can move into a position where we can be as big as we can be – while still having the flexibility to continue to run this business the way we want.”The music industry around the world