Believe Digital

Believe Digital's digital music distribution service Zimbalam opens in the US

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[France] Zimbalam, the digital music distributor from Believe Digital, launches in the US today.

The service lets artists submit and distribute their music through 25 of the most popular music platforms, including Apple’s iTunes and Spotify, in addition to “several hundred additional stores worldwide”. This makes Zimbalam the largest music distribution network as measured by number of stores and geographic reach, says the Paris-based company.

To distribute their music via Zimbalam’s network, artists are charged a simple annual fee ($29.99 in year one then $19.98 per year after for an EP or album) and then once the fee is recouped, get to keep 100% of royalties – after, of course, whatever commission is taken by each store. Additionally, following year one, artists won’t be charged by Zimbalam if they don’t make enough sales to cover the annual fee.

As well as music distribution, the service provides real-time (daily) sales data, CRM tools, such as email newsletters, and a widget feature for promotion through social networking sites. The latter is geo-targeted and can detect a user’s location so as to promote the most popular music stores in that region.

Another potential pull for artists who are considering using Zimbalam for digital distribution is the link between the service and its parent Believe Digital, which is backed by a team of 50 A&R people. Those that perform strongly on the Zimbalam network and are therefore deemed to have “breakout” potential will be assigned a personal A&R manager to advise on “release strategy, marketing and promotion investment”, bridging the gap of a major record label.

Believe Digital is backed by VCs xAnge and Ventech to the tune of $8.5 million and is founded by music executives from various companies, including Vivendi Universal, MP3.com, eMusic, BMG Entertainment and Sony. It has a staff of 70 spread across six European countries (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal), as well as the United States.

  • Antti

    Actually you got the pricing wrong. This is from their F.A.Q:

    You pay a one-off fee per release of just:

    – €19.99 for a Single (1 to 2 tracks)
    – €29.99 for an Album (over 2 tracks)

    The fee is payable credit or debit card or can be made with Paypal through our secure software.
    We pay you 90% of the income generated by sale of your music and unlike services offering ‘100% royalties’, there are no annual, subscription or hidden fees to deal with so you, the artist, stand to make more money from your music.

    • Steve O'Hear

      You’re seeing the Euro pricing. I was reporting on the US launch and used the company’s prices for the States in $. It’s not a direct currency exchange but different pricing for different markets, given to me by Believe Digital.

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  • http://crenk.com Steven Finch

    I find it funny how a lot of people are reporting about Real time sales reports. I dont see how that can be possible, because iTunes, Amazon, etc. just dont offer anything near real time report!

  • http://thebytevine.com Hugo Firth

    This service certainly is interesting – although I believe (I’d have to check) there are others that fulfill the same task.

    Whats nice about this product is one could see a number bands gaining fairly significant traction without any label backing (helping them then get the much needed support of a label for physical distribution and backing).

    Ironically though – aren’t the US still waiting on spotify’s launch ? (I’m travelling there at the moment and everyone I show it to is smitten)

  • http://www.zimbalam.com Zimbalam

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for your query and you are indeed right about iTunes reporting, other distributors will make you wait 6 weeks or even longer to find out what you have sold on iTunes, whereas we report daily on iTunes sales for the previous 90 days using real-time data supplied to us by iTunes, all data from before then is archived in your reports.

    The real-time data is subject to very slight changes due to sales which fail on download and will not be present on the final statement, which is the final amount we pay our users, this statement we deliver at the same time as other distributors on a monthly basis. However, there will only ever be tiny inconsistencies between the two and usually none at all. After all, how many times have you had a purchase fail on iTunes when buying music for yourself? It’s pretty rare!

    We are also the only distributor to offer this service and are very proud to be offering such an essential tool for artists, at no additional charge, truly giving the edge back to the artist to be reactive to their sales campaigns on a day to day, region to region basis.

    Check it out for yourself at http://www.zimbalam.com

    Thanks again for your comment and thanks to Steve for the great article!


  • http://www.inkaudio.com David O.

    If they could deliver on distribution claim alone the service will be worth it. Most of the digital distributors available to indies only distribute to handful of stores.


  • http://routenote.com RouteNote

    If your in a band and want to get your music onto Spotify then check out RouteNote (http://routenote.com). They are already the leaders in the UK for digital music distribution.

  • http://TheMusicVoid.com Jaysen

    The Music Voids speaks to Steven Finch, CEO and Co-Founder of RouteNote, a company offering an alternative and affordable music distribution service to artists.

    Read the exclusive Q & A here: http://www.themusicvoid.com/2010/08/exclusive-q-a-with-steven-finch-ceo-and-co-founder-routenote/

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  • Tara

    It seems like a good distribution service but I wonder how the use version is doing now?
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  • Tara

    Does anyone know how its holding up as on now?
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  • http://twitter.com/raspaulo Ras Paulo

    I cant login my zimbalam player on  myspace profile,
    what is it?http://raspaulo.zimbalam.com/

  • http://vinnumbercheck.net/ Vin Check

    Good news. Digital distribution is out future and I’m glad, musicians will get larger payouts. My friends are musicians and their new album won’t be released on CD, only for Internet distribution. 

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