Exporting European writers and music producers to the rest of the word.
I am beyond excited, to finally officially to announce Hatch Publishing.
A Belgian music publishing venture I founded in a partnership with Cloud 9 music.
What the heck is a music publisher?
The distinction between a music label and a music publisher is a little confusing to most.
A music label represents the person who performs the music (the artist) while a publisher represents person who composed and wrote the music (producers/writer).
A music label makes most of their money by selling CDs (or streaming music these days). The music publisher makes their money every time a song is performed or played (live, on the radio, as the movie soundtrack,…)
What your music publisher can do for you :
- Give you an advance on your royalties, so you can invest money in instruments and time in writing more music.
- Set up sessions and writing camps; so you can work on projects for interesting and big artists.
- Try to sync your music; a cool sounding word that means convince someone to use your song for a movie, TV show or commercial.
People who have been following my story might have noticed, I am a one trick pony. My sole focus over the last decade has been; helping creatives develop their talent and build their business.
In the last few years it was as a manager in the music industry. I get my professional satisfaction by trying things that are new, have never been done before or seem impossible.
In this case it was after I realised that compared to similar sized countries (ie. The Netherlands & Sweden) we in Belgium are really bad exporting music.
Learning from experience; crossing borders with an artist project coming from a small territory, is an uphill battle. One day I will write the blog posts ‘How Spotify copied the old label model and left all their fellow Europeans behind’ & ‘The way major labels are structured disincentivize them to push acts from smaller territories’.
With my artists I got to work with some great publishers and it made me realise that, some of the hurdles/borders that exist for artist aren’t that big for writers and producers. Some of international links that you won’t find with labels do exists within publishing.
So first export the music and then bring along the artists (project) in a later stage.
I have to do a shout out to Michael-Dann Joseph, Prolific Songs. He was the first one to tell me :
Being a manager is cool all but at some point this will end, and you will have nothing to show for except some plaques on the wall. Have you ever considered going into publishing?
This was almost two years ago and he was also the person who introduced me to Pieter at Cloud 9.
Why are Belgians so bad at exporting music?
Before I receive some very angry comments, I will first nuance this.
There is the obvious exception that proves the rule; music in the French language. All the way back from Jaques Brel to Stromae, Angèle or Damso. I wouldn’t be surprised that if you look at it relative to population we are doing it better than the French themselves.
But in general if you look how Sweden exports their songwriters or The Dutch their producers & DJs; we are not even close to being in the same league.
1. Industry knowhow
Belgium is a big black hole if it comes down to music publishing. None of the publishing majors have a Belgian office, you would already have to go to Amsterdam or Paris to be serviced.
You can’t know what is going on here if you are not actively visiting studios in Brussels, Antwerp or even Limburg.
Music industry is a peoples business. Over 90% of the job is knowing someone who knows someone. We miss the industry people locally, with the right international network.
This network is something that gradually grows over decades. It compounds all the local succeses to accelerate opportunities for future generations.
For example Sweden has been making world wide pop hits since Abba in the 70s, you have Max Martin domination the international charts in the 00’s and Ludwig Göransson making all your favorite soundtracks today.
There is fun Netflix documentary ‘This is pop’ with an episode ‘The Stockholm syndrome’ about it.
It is these pathways we have to start building from scratch in Belgium.
2. Role models
The lack of service from a publishers to Belgian artists lead to them being unaware of the opportunities they have. That is why you see most of our artists being solely on their own artist project. With as only goal to please the audience of their fellow peers of music professionals.
While for example in The Netherlands everybody wants to be the number one rapper (the scene is big enough that it will buy you a lambo), a DJ that tours the world (think Tiesto, Martin Garrix,..) or a producer with a wall full of plaques.
It is in our culture to be modest, but if we don’t celebrate those who do make international moves, we do a disservice to the future generations.
Why don’t we have an award show for Belgian Music Export? Where we celebrate those producers and writers currently flying under the radar.
Making music that resonates with a big audience requires both talent and some very specific skills. Regardless if you make a pop song, great sync for a commercial or a movie score.
While we have an insanely creative scene in Belgium with a lot of talent, it is those skills that we sometimes miss.
We make great music but not necessarily great songs.
Importing that expertise and sending our artist abroad to acquire those skills will be a big part of the mission of Hatch Publishing.
Hatch Publishing is a fund that I created together with Cloud 9, based out of Amsterdam. They are the biggest independent publisher in the Benelux (Belgium & Netherlands). They have a long legacy in publishing that started with Armin van Buuren.
As the mission is to create new pathways I feel an independent publisher is better equipped than a major because it is in their DNA.
They were already setting up camps and creating opportunities before anything was signed.
The artists I suggested are very different from the bulk of their roster. Regardless they understand their creative vision and allow them the space to pursue it.
Most importantly when meeting Pieter, Raymond & Coen I felt we share a vision and a way of doing business.
While we are just a small upstart that has no impact on their bottom line, they are very much involved. I remember once mentioned what my next meeting was about to Pieter and him checkin in the next day how it went. I have been long enough in the music industry to realise that is not the standard.
The most important part; very excited to announce the first three signings to Hatch Publishing!
While Sweden is know for songwriters and pop hits; Netherlands for DJ’s/producers. We shouldn’t try to beat them at their game but instead play to our own strengths.
We are very creative and constantly push boundaries.
They have great artist projects you want to check out (link if you click the names) but behind the scenes they also write and produce for other artists, sync, dance, theater,… you name it!
You can’t expect the world to suddenly notice you if you just stay in your studio at home.
If you want to be considered in a new territory the first step is to physically go there.
That is why all our deals include a travel budget & why we actively try to create as many opportunities abroad as possible.
Next to that we will be organising international writing camps in Belgium. To put us on the map and also important expertise and share it with local talent.
Let’s work together
I am definitely not first to take some steps on this path. This is something that has been brewing in the scene, and you can already see manifesting if you are paying attention.
The goal is to build a sustainable music industry with knowhow that can be passed on to new generations. Create role models that inspire to dream even bigger. To accumulate the skills and expertise that will make us stand out.
This is a mission is too big for any person or even company, so let’s collaborate .
Let us bake a very big cake together instead of fighting over a piece of very small one.
I would love to talk and share ideas with anyone!
Could be people from the music industry but definitely also from different industries or even government. In creating new paths, outside input to a problem can be really valuable!
Here is a link to short deck on HATCH publishing for you to take home.
You can always reach me at email@example.com
Follow our adventures on Instagram.