Spotify’s rarified circle of preferred distributors is now a teensy-bit bigger.
Without a doubt, CD Baby’s ‘Preferred Artist Distributor’ status on Spotify made it easier for Downtown Music Holdings to green-light its . CD Baby’s lofty status is shared by just one other distributor — Distrokid — of which Spotify is a significant investor.
On the label services side, the club is almost equally as small. The Orchard is Spotify’s lone ‘Preferred Label Distributor,’ while FUGA, Believe, and Absolute Label Services comprise the tiny club of Spotify’s ‘Recommended Label Distributors’.
Now, two more companies have entered the rarified circle of Spotify favorites.
At some point earlier this month, Spotify quietly added both EMS and IDOL to its list of ‘Recommended Delivery Platforms,’ with FUGA sharing a third spot in the category (FUGA appears in both ‘Recommended’ lists).
So who are these guys?
EMS, or Encoding Management Service, offers importing, encoding and delivery for a range of different digital media assets, including everything from music, video, films, audiobooks, and ‘mixed bundles’. The company’s broad range of media distribution services is aptly suited to Spotify’s expanding media ambitions, which now include podcasting, music, non-musical audio, and lots more video.
EMS is based in Leverkusen, Germany, and is helmed by Managing Directors Marc Radermacher and Irmin Wiechmann.
“We are not a distributor, nor are we a retailer; consequently, we don’t take shares off your revenue,” EMS declares on its website. “For our service, you pay only once per product. As solely a service provider, we’re neither in competition with you, nor your customers.”
IDOL, which has offices in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and Johannesburg, is heavily focused on distributing independent labels and producers. “Privileged partners of independent labels and producers, IDOL’s managers have always vowed to remain independent themselves, be it on a financial or technical level,” the company states.
“No major group, institutional investor or investment fund has a stake in its capital.”
IDOL — which stands for Independent Distribution On Line — was founded by Pascal Bittard in 2006. Prior to founding IDOL, Bittard spent time as Director of independent label distribution at Sony Music, which sounds like perfect preparation for launching an indie-focused distro company.
Among IDOL’s listed partners are SACEM, DDEX, Merlin, [PIAS], Kantar Media, and AIM.
The sudden accolades are likely to create a nice bump for both companies.
For starters, partner content companies will enjoy a far easier path onto Spotify, thanks to the pre-certifications. Over at Apple Music, preferred status translates into automatic uploading onto the platform, with virtually no delays, according to one source.
We’re not exactly sure what perks and privileges Spotify hands out, though.
Either way, the bumps also raise the profile for both EMS and IDOL in other ways. That includes M&A channels, where monied buyers could be hungrier to consolidate their power-bases as streaming continues to grow worldwide.
Indeed, other Downtown-style acquisitions could be ahead, with more distributors potentially consolidating or getting acquired in the coming months.
Spotify’s updated list can be found here.