This article is written to help answer common questions label managers might have before launching a label with Proton. Whenever you're ready to launch your label, head over to our Label Launch Application Form. Our launch team will be in touch within 2-3 business days. In the meantime, read this guide for more info!
What is Proton SoundSystem?
Proton SoundSystem powers over 2K independent electronic music labels. Beyond distro, our platform helps our labels manage and promote their releases, save time, and grow in a reliable, sustainable and innovative way. We offer a range of exclusive services and features that are simply not available together anywhere else.
Running a digital electronic music label is a lot of work. At Proton, we make it easier, sustainable, and a lot more fun! We help label managers automate a lot of the "boring" work, so they can focus more time on the creative side of things.
Here's a short list of top labels already running on Proton. Each week, dozens of our labels are featured across Beatport's Top 100s & genre pages.
The crew that runs Proton also run their own music labels, produce their own music, and many of them are DJs too. We're passionate about music and have built Proton to help solve problems that we face every day as music makers and lovers ourselves.
SoundSystem is a constantly evolving platform designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our industry and community: we were the first electronic music platform with smart contracts that completely automate contracts, statements, payments, and expenses - and we're one of the first to bring DJ Mixes to Spotify & Apple Music.
At Proton, there are no upfront, recurring, or per-release costs.
You don't pay anything out of pocket. Instead, Proton simply earns a commision on your earnings. More details below!
What makes Proton better than other distributors?
There are a lot of distributors out there, but there are none like Proton. Here's an overview of exclusive features available to all our labels at no extra cost:
Smart Contracts - Proton helps the label completely automate contracts, statements, payments, and even recoup expenses automatically before artists get paid. This saves a huge amount of time, helping labels safely invest and grow.
DJ Mixes - Proton labels & artists can now release DJ Mixes on Spotify & Apple. These mixes have powered over 30 million additional paid plays for our music labels since the beta launched. Some of our labels have seen an increase of over 1000% on their tracks by releasing just 1 mix. Proton's DJ mixes are distributed directly to Spotify & Apple Music: we don't go through a middleman.
Promo Pool - Our labels have access to Proton Promo, a next-gen promo pool platform that is 100% automatic & 100% free. Each DJ added to your label's promo pool also can start featuring your music in their mixes on Spotify & Apple, to help you boost earnings & exposure. More details here.
Streaming Singles - Spotify gives special treatment to singles (releases with just 1 track). But electronic music labels often have bigger releases w/multiple artists (compilations, remixes, etc). Setting up separate singles from bigger releases is a CHORE at other distributors. But at Proton, it's easy/automatic! Streaming Singles can be setup quickly. They're pitchable to Spotify's curators, considered for New Release Radar, and prominently featured atop artist profiles. They also get blocked automatically from DJ stores like Beatport and help recoup costs of the original release, without extra work.
Exposure & Promotion - Unlike other distributors, Proton operates a radio station! Music Labels on Proton get 1st priority for time slots, including monthly residencies and special prime time guest slots to support your next big release. Beyond that, we also run premieres on SoundCloud (20K fans), featured charts on Facebook (30K fans), an official Spotify playlist, discounts at InFlyte, and we have a strategy & curation team to help you get featured on Beatport & Spotify.
Maximize Your Beatport Earnings - Proton helps our labels collect the maximum possible Beatport payout. Get the benefits of being an exclusive label & collect your mechanical royalties too. On average, labels switching to Proton from other distributors have significantly increased their Beatport payout. Contact us for a personalized quote to see if you can earn more, too.
Gain exclusivity benefits on Beatport WITHOUT delaying streaming: At Proton, our labels can go Beatport exclusive and still release on ALL streaming platforms at the same time as the Beatport exclusive date. Going exclusive on Beatport means nearly a 40% increase in earnings on new releases, but many music labels at other distributors go non-exclusive because their distributor does not support special scheduling for download stores like Beatport. At Proton, Beatport exclusivity only delays your release on other download platforms like TraxSource, Juno, and the iTunes download store.
Growth Strategists - At Proton, one of our main goals is to help our labels grow. We've been powering Beatport Top 100 music labels for over a decade (since 2005) so we know what it takes for a music label to rise up & reach the next level. Our team is always available to chat about strategies and share ideas specific to where your label is at now and where we think it can go next. After signing up, you'll also have free access to a book written by our CEO covering our favorite strategies to help our labels grow.
Daily Analytics - Most distributors provide daily sales & stream reports to their music labels. Proton does too, of course, but we're the only distributor that brings these daily reports directly to artists too. Artists no longer have to wait months to see how well they're selling on DJ shops like Beatport, and they can see it all in one place alongside their Spotify and Apple Music streams -- updated every day, as soon as the release comes out.
On top of that, Proton reports Beatport followers for the music label and its entire artist roster. To our knowledge, Proton is the only distributor that helps artists see how many followers they have at Beatport. And at Proton, our labels receive a daily report of Spotify follower #s for their entire artist roster, directly alongside their Beatport followers. These are great tools to help your label grow: when you easily can see how many followers all your artists have on Beatport & Spotify, this helps you decide who to invite next for a remix, DJ Mix, etc.
Easy Fixes - It’s common for music labels to make a mistake and need to fix their masters, cover art, track titles, or other details of a release. At other distributors these fixes can take awhile: but at Proton, they’re nearly instant, without needing to send an email and wait for a response. We know how stressful it can be when you need to get something fixed quick, so we built a system so you never need to wait.
InFlyte Discount - Proton labels can save 15% on InFlyte prices to run a promo pool. And then using our automatic expense tools you can easily recoup this cost before artists get paid!
Short Versions for Spotify vs. Long Versions for Beatport - These days, music labels often prepare a "short" version of a track for streaming platforms like Spotify and an "extended" version for DJ shops like Beatport. At other distributors, this requires music labels creating two separate releases. But with Proton, we make it easy to do this all via the same release! Details here.
How much does Proton cost for my label?
There are no upfront or recurring fees. Proton simply earns a 30% commission of your label's revenue. The remaining 70% of the label's earnings go to the label itself and the artists, based on royalty percentages controlled by the label on each track.
What stores and services does Proton work with?
Apple Music / iTunes
YouTube (incl. Content ID & YouTube Music)
Facebook & Instagram
TikTok / Bytedance / Resso
Tencent (QQ, Kugou, Kuwo)
Proton is a preferred partner on Spotify.
All our labels get access to the latest & greatest goodies available, including:
Instant verification for artists, incl. instant access to Spotify for Artists.
Label Manager access to Spotify for Artists, so you can pitch releases directly to Spotify's curation team yourself, help update your artist's profiles + much more.
Guaranteed Delivery, make sure music gets sent to the correct artist profile.
A special dashboard with the Spotify follower score for all your artists, side by side, to help with your A&R strategy!
Is selling at Beatport better with Proton?
Yes. Proton helps you maximize your earnings from Beatport. You'll earn the highest possible payout from Beatport by collecting your mechanical royalties and earning extra as an exclusive label, if you want to. For details, please contact us for more info.
You also get daily sales reports from Beatport for all your tracks and releases. No more waiting months for a statement! Access the number of followers your label and artists currently have on Beatport to help promotion, plus you can update artist profiles on Beatport with new photos and bios.
Proton can work with your label on strategies to get you features at Beatport — each week more than 70 labels using SoundSystem are featured. We have a strong track record and relationship with Beatport because we do things right.
How much control do I have over my label?
You have complete control and total creative freedom. You can sign any tracks you want and organize releases however you'd like, as long as any samples used are legally cleared. We can also help you reach other artists inside the Proton community!
How often do I need to release music? How much do I need to sell?
You can release music once a week or once a decade. There are no sales or schedule requirements for labels running on SoundSystem.
My release is ready. How fast can Proton release it?
Pretty fast! By default, we require a 2 week deadline, since that's what Beatport and Spotify generally prefer. If you need to release faster, let us know and we can help!
Minimize your chances of a technical problem and increase your chances of support on Beatport by scheduling releases a minimum of 2 weeks in advance.
Is dealing with contracts hard and complicated?
Not at all. You can automatically generate contracts for your label using the website and easily send them to your artists via email, who can then approve them digitally without any hassle. With Proton, you can even declare expenses and recoup them automatically so you can safely invest in your label and recover costs easily!
Do I have to send payments and statements myself?
Nope! It’s all automatic. SoundSystem generates statements for artists and label managers every quarter. Anyone with a balance over $100 gets a statement via email. Anyone with a balance over $100 gets a payment via PayPal. If PayPal is not available for someone, then Proton can make a payment via Western Union or Transfer Wise. Royalty statements are available at any time to users on the SoundSystem website.
How do I set up royalty rates?
As the label manager you control the royalty rates for every track on every release, including any expenses that you need to recoup before artists get paid. With SoundSystem you can easily set royalty rates for each song before sending out contracts. Assign royalties to yourself, your original and remix artists, and even graphic designers and mastering engineers. Royalties work on a track level so you can enter different royalty rates for every track on your release. If the artist is a group or a band then each member will receive a contract and an equal share of the royalties you enter for them.
Who owns the tracks?
For a variety of reasons, the tracks on your label would be signed and owned by Proton LLC for the duration of our agreement together. This enables Proton to earn 10% extra for your label at Beatport. Tracks are technically signed to Proton but appear on your label on every store and service. Internally, we consider the tracks mutually owned according to the royalty rates you determine for each track.
If you'd prefer to retain ownership of the tracks, no problem: please ask us for a custom contract that we can configure for your label!
What if I want to leave SoundSystem?
Unlike other distributors, Proton does not lock labels into contracts. You can leave at any time! We believe in providing the best service possible, so you'd never want to leave in the first place. Other distributors lock labels into 1 year or 3 year contracts, but Proton labels stay with us because they love us, not because they're forced to.