The music business’ rapid embrace of technology has greatly helped flatten its structure, allowing everyone from emerging artists to legacy acts and industry executives to make lasting connections and collaborate. Of course, this counts on all parties having access to the same data resources, events calendars, and directories. In this interview with Jaxsta’s co-founder and CEO Jacqui Louez Schoorl, we discuss what opportunities industry professionals may be missing out on in our newly democratized industry that the company’s Jaxsta Pro platform can assist with, and the goals they look to accomplish with their product suite.
MB: We came to know Jaxsta for its robust online music credits database, Jaxsta.com. Last year, Jaxsta Pro launched in beta with a robust slate of useful tools for industry pros at all levels of their career. What has been the response across the industry since Jaxsta Pro launched?
JLS: In one word: excitement. In many ways Jaxsta Pro has the potential to revolutionize the way people in the music industry do business – I say that not to be hyperbolic, but because I truly believe it. As with anything revolutionary it takes time to educate people, which we’re in the process of doing. But now that Jaxsta Pro is live and we’re actually seeing it put to practical use, we couldn’t be happier.
MB: Can you discuss where the idea for the Jaxsta Pro platform came from? Were you looking to reinvent the wheel, or more become a definitive resource for the music business?
JLS: We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel, but we were looking to make some significant changes that could streamline its performance! Right from the beginning we knew that the data housed on Jaxsta.com had incredible power – power that could be utilized to benefit those working in the music industry and make Jaxsta Pro a definitive source of information for all music professionals.
Jaxsta Pro comes from a place of experience – Co-Founder Louis Schoorl is a songwriter, producer, and engineer in his own right. So he has experienced firsthand the issues people in his line of work face: poor credit attribution; limited access to contacts; limited access even to information about whether certain songs have been released and how they’re charting. And from my background working across the film and music industries, I knew from a business perspective the shortcomings associated with poor metadata retention and, more crucially, the huge benefits that could come from addressing those shortcomings.
MB: Talk a little bit about the connection between Jaxsta.com and your Pro tier products — how do the tools included in Jaxsta Pro synergize with the music credits database?
JLS: They feed off each other completely. Take, for example, Jaxsta Pro’s custom Charts Alerts function. Never before have behind-the-scenes music creators such as producers and engineers been able to track how their music is charting around the globe, but with Jaxsta Pro they can. And the reason they can is because we use the credit information we have in Jaxsta to map how their music is charting. The benefits of this to a music creator are huge – for starters, they can use that chart success to create more work opportunities. Another example: we’ve always envisaged music creators being able to use their Jaxsta profile as a pre-populated CV – almost like a ready-made Linkedin profile complete with all their credits, which they can then use to create more opportunities. Jaxsta Pro members can take that one step further by claiming and managing their profile page. This allows them to put the spotlight on the work they’re most proud of; upload their latest image, bio and social links; and list the contact details of all their key team members. (This is especially important, as it not also means they’re more easily contactable about opportunities, but they can also contact other potential collaborators about opportunities.) Jaxsta Pro members can effectively control how the world sees them. So while Jaxsta already offers music creators an incredible tool for self-promotion, Jaxsta Pro increases the power of that tool. These are just two small examples. Jaxsta and Jaxsta Pro are completely symbiotic.
MB: Breaking down the “music” and “business” parts of the music business, what specific benefits does Jaxsta Pro offer for artists, songwriters and other creatives?
JLS: Before we even get into the bells and whistles of Jaxsta Pro, the very notion of having a single official repository for your credits – which is what Jaxsta offers – has incredible benefits for artists, songwriters, and other creatives. As Louis can attest, songwriters don’t always know when their music has been released. In fact, we’ve heard of cases where songwriters have only learned that their songs were out by looking at their Jaxsta profile – they’ve then notified their publisher, who chased up the royalties. For one of those songwriters, this resulted in them earning several thousand dollars of additional royalties they didn’t even know they were owed.
But now for Jaxsta Pro – in addition to the above mentioned functions, our Charts feature is a key focus. Via our partnerships with chart providers such as Spotify, Apple and Official Charts Company, we have access to global chart information, collated all in one place. For producers and songwriters, this enables them to not only stay on top of what’s charting, but they can click on any song and find out who produced it, who engineered it, and who played on it. Another great function is Market Insights, which provides territory-specific information on things like streaming services, certification figures compared to population, charts providers and more in the world’s top 20 music markets. Basically it’s there to arm music creators with the information they need to plan their move into each market. The global Events Calendar enables you to see where and when the important festivals, conferences and award ceremonies are happening in the world’s Top 20 music markets, complete with links to buy tickets. All in one place, all official. Jaxsta Pro is all about connection and convenience.
MB: And for executives?
JLS: Executives should see Jaxsta Pro as a tool to ensure their business is running as efficiently as possible. From the perspective of a record label CEO – do their A&R, marketing, publicity, and publishing departments have all the tools they need to do their jobs as well as possible? Jaxsta Pro’s functions – from its custom Chart Alerts to the territory-specific market information to its global Events Calendar – are designed not only to provide accurate information, but to save industry professionals time. And as we all know, time is money.
[If you’d like to give Jaxsta Pro a try, use MUSICBIZPRO when signing up for a free 30 day trial to get 20% off the yearly membership fee when the trial ends, or please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quick 20 minute demo.]
MB: Jaxsta partnered with the Recording Academy for their “Behind the Record” campaign, helping recognize the various personnel that had a hand in creating some of today’s most popular music. Can you tell us what you think led to the major push to help producers, engineers, session musicians and the like share the spotlight in recent years, something echoed in Jaxsta’s pledge to “Give Credit Where Credit is Due?”
JLS: I think the digitization of the music industry created a tipping point. When physical albums were the only way to purchase music, each album, CD or cassette came with a complete set of liner notes, giving credit to all the people who worked on the music. But as downloading and then streaming became the dominant source of consumption, people were no longer receiving the liner notes with their music, they were just getting the digital file. All of a sudden, producers, engineers and session musicians were no longer receiving the readily available credit they once did. Worse still, because of this they quite often couldn’t prove they’d worked on a piece of music, which started to impact their career opportunities. A problem was created, so a solution needed to be discovered – which is the impetus for Jaxsta and the increased industry push to give all the incredible music creators credit for their work.
MB: Do you feel that Jaxsta’s products are supportive of the music business as it exists today, or are inspiring future evolution in the industry?
JLS: Both. Jaxsta was designed to support the existing music business by providing a solution to some of the biggest issues facing music industry professionals. To do so, however, we had to come up with new ways of doing things – create new software and algorithmic matching programs, for example – to process the hundreds of millions of credits we house on Jaxsta.com. I truly feel that Jaxsta is at the forefront of solving the existing problems with metadata retention, and in doing so it can’t help but inspire evolution within the music industry. Though to be honest I think it’s a two-way street – Jaxsta evolves because of the way the music industry is constantly evolving, and in time I expect vice versa will also be true.
MB: What are the looming industry issues that you feel Jaxsta’s products will help to solve?
JLS: The big one remains metadata retention. There’s a reason why ‘metadata’ has become such a buzzword – it’s increasingly at the heart of how the music business operates. Jaxsta is dedicated to ensuring our database is populated only by official information supplied by the custodians of that data. It’s a single source of truth in a world where crowd-sourced misinformation is an issue. Without proper and official credit attribution, music creators will struggle to survive and thrive. Jaxsta is designed to ensure that scenario never comes to pass.
MB: Despite the sweeping changes that have hit the music business over the past few decades, what fundamental ideas in our industry would you say have remained the same? And how do you think Jaxsta supports — or challenges — them?
JLS: One of the key tenets of the music industry is the quality of the music it produces. For all the incredible changes the industry has undergone over the past decade, the one absolute is that good music has always – and will always – find a way out there. But more and more, music consumption is about discovery – made possible by streaming services and their algorithms suggesting new artists and new songs – and that is something that Jaxsta absolutely supports. By presenting official credit data Jaxsta provides an opportunity for fans to go on a music credit deep-dive and discover who made the music they love, and what other music these people have been involved with. On the flipside, one of the fundamental ideas that Jaxsta challenges is the poor practices around metadata retention – for too long it’s been a secondary consideration, and Jaxsta is doing everything it can to fix that.
You can read past “Keeping Tempo” articles via the portal linked here. And, stay tuned for more insightful discussions from our members and partners from across the industry!