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17 February 2016

Liverpool business looking at international expansion

MIA winner of the month....



Ditto Music

 Catherine Melling of The North West Fund presenting Lee and Matt Parsons with their monthly Merseyside Innovation award.


The co-founder of Ditto Music has told the North West Insider that the Liverpool-headquartered online digital music distributor is eyeing international expansion after its new Record Label in a Box (RLIAB) product won a prestigious innovation prize.

Chief executive Matt Parsons (pictured), who set up the business with his brother Lee (pictured)in 2005, was speaking following the news that RLIAB has picked up the Merseyside Innovation Awards (MIA) prize for January 2016.

Record Label in a Box, which launched in September 2015, aims to provide customers with everything they need to set up and run a successful record label, including start-up paperwork, a Barclays business bank account, contract templates, a music industry events calendar, 12 months' distribution, a domain name, and a music industry opportunities database. Ditto Music describes the service as "the first of its kind in the world".

Parsons said: "Its's the first award we've won for Record Label in a Box. Hopefully it's the first of many and it's nice to be recognised in Merseyside where we're based.

"Record Label in a Box is based on our experience of playing in bands and starting our own record label. It took us six months and the only thing we even did was release a song.

"It aims to address the problems that me and Lee had ten years ago. We couldn't get our music out there so we did it ourselves."

The new product complements the existing offering from Ditto Music, which markets a range of "record label services" to musicians such as distribution to platforms including iTunes, Google Play and Spotify, and promotion and marketing.

Ditto Music now has 85,000 bands on its books from around the world, and currently releases 300-500 singles and albums per week. It is the record label for established artists such as rappers Stormzy and Lady Leshurr, and it looked after the first singles for Grammy winner Ed Sheeran and fellow singer-songwriter Sam Smith.

It was also planning the next single release for up-and-coming Warrington-based indie band Viola Beach. All four members of the band and their manager died in a car crash in Stockholm on Saturday, 13 February 2016 after performing at Sweden's Where's the Music? Festival.

Parsons said: "It's tragic. They were local to us, we were talking about them in the office last week actually about how cool it was to have a local band that was doing so well."

According to Parsons, Ditto Music is currently on course to turn over approximately £3m this year. Headquartered in Liverpool, it now has more than 30 members of staff worldwide with US offices in Nashville, Austin and San Diego, an Australian office in Melbourne, and a franchise in Cyprus.

Parsons said: "The plans for the future are for more international expansion. We're looking at Sweden over the next six months and probably after that Germany and Canada."

The MIA aims to recognise and reward companies and individuals in Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Halton, Sefton and Wirral that use creativity to fuel growth and profitability.

Each month, the MIA judging panel selects a monthly winner. These winners are then whittled down to three finalists before one is crowned the overall winner for the year.

The North West Fund is proud to be a sponsor for MIA 2016. The other sponsors are BBC Radio Merseyside,  Brabners, Unilever, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership, NatWest, the University of Liverpool Management School,  MC Vanguard Corporate Finance, Mitchell Charlesworth, Village Software, WP Thompson, C-Tech Innovation, the NW Insider and Trustech Smart Venures.

The deadline for entries into this year's awards is 30 April 2016. For more information on the Merseyside Innovation Awards and networking lunches please contact Cara Bartlett on 0151 2552300 or cara.bartlett@mitchellcharlesworth.co.uk.



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