HUDL Music Gives Indie Artists the Tools to Connect, Collaborate, Create and Distribute Their Music
On April 1st, 2021, HUDL Music celebrated its 1st anniversary as a live app.
Created by Lashion Robinson, the CEO and founder has guided HUDL Music to become a beacon for indie artists to share their music, visuals, and connect with each other in ways like never before.
Lashion and his nationwide team have been working tirelessly to make HUDL Music much more than just an app. Marrying the concept of social media with music distribution is at the crux of what makes HUDL Music special.
As history has shown, indie artists’ biggest hurdle is finding new and creative ways for their music to reach the world without the hassles of algorithms, impossible marketing budgets, and unfair streaming practices.
HUDL Music aims to be the hero indie artists deserve by making the platform accessible to all, while focusing in on the very things that indie artists need to succeed.
We had the pleasure of connecting with Robinson recently for a chat about the history and inspiration behind HUDL Music. Robinson also shares his thoughts on the music business, streaming music, music tech, and what’s next for HUDL Music down the road.
P&S: What was the jumping-off point to start HUDL Music?
Lashion Robinson: The starting point for starting HUDL Music was the desire to create a community, and a well-rounded toolkit, for indie artists/creators because there are so many voids that aren’t being resolved by all the major music platforms out there (from Spotify to Soundcloud to ToneDen to Linktree and beyond).
Mostly, these are just single silos that do one or two things pretty well, and nothing more…but it’s not a solid solution, or well-rounded toolkit for working, independent artists & musicians.
HUDL Music is here to change that.
My passion for music and my ability to problem-solve these major issues for independent musicians today is what drove us to today.
P&S: Did you sense the time was right to introduce a new platform featuring robust tools to help indie artists share their music?
Lashion Robinson: Yes, the industry is constantly changing and evolving but it really slowed down enough to pair my business skills and my experience in music together just prior to COVID hitting, and definitely during early 2020 when we had just launched.
There’s definitely a void in the music space that wasn’t (and still isn’t) embracing indie artists at all.
For example: Why should independent artists have to have ten different accounts on various websites to push their career forward, just to get the same exact same fans/listeners they had before? It’s beyond a full-time job to manage all this, which takes away from the reason most musicians got into to music in the first place: to Create. (or otherwise, pour dollars into building follower counts on their social media, but from a business standpoint, this doesn’t mean people are really engaging or listening to your music, in reality…HUDL Music is about what’s beyond that point, because Instagram alone isn’t a marketing plan, at all, yet we see tons of independent artists trying to use this as their main tool for marketing their artist brand to the world).
HUDL Music exists to simplify as many of the complicated business and marketing tasks that stand in front of the independent artist today, and to remove many of the roadblocks that lie ahead for them as well with all the new features we’re releasing and building.
In the end, one of our main goals is to simply let independent artists, musicians, bands, singer/songwriters, MCs, producers, DJs and anyone else involved with the creation of the music we all love have more time to do simply that: CREATE, CONNECT, and COLLAB.
(and spend so much less time logging into 10–15 different platforms to complete a simple step in their very complicated release cycle for every album, single, or whatever they’re wanting to push out)
We’re not a streaming platform, we’re not here to compete with Spotify, Soundcloud, etc…we’re friendly to all those other platforms and our growing global community is welcome to post and share links from any and all platforms like that.
We’re a much more focused, and less noisy, community for independent musicians — and the fans that love them — than major social media platforms can ever provide.
P&S: Blending social media with music distribution appears to be a winning mix for indie artists. Did you sense these ‘indie’ artists were being overlooked, which is why HUDL Music has become such a big draw — providing a valuable and effective platform to finally give them the tools — all in one — to really connect to world?
Lashion Robinson: Yes, indie artists have always been overlooked with an insanely small percent ever accomplishing true, minor success.
By providing social media “features” amongst our community — while also walking an intentional, careful line to not compete with the “majors” (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc) — coupled with music distribution services, HUDL Music will be on the forefront of what it means to really support creation, marketing & distribution for the indie artists.
P&S: What are your thoughts on the overall business of ‘music streaming’ — and specifically how that plays into what HUDL MUSIC is developing, focused on?
Lashion Robinson: To be totally honest, the music streaming part of the business sucks!
10 years ago an indie artist’s music was created and sold as a finished, tangible product (CDs).
The artists could become a salesman right out of the trunk of their car, or go and have their music placed in the mom-and-pop record stores if they put in the work to make it happen, plus sell that physical product at shows. (looking back, those artists made more then than those today who are receiving 5 million plus streams).
Digital and streams alone are extremely disposable and throwaway, and I think smart, independent artists paying attention to the “business” of their music, are coming to realize this…you have to get more innovative to make a career in music truly viable. It’s tough, for sure…but we’re here to fight for the indie artists and musicians out there worldwide, and help give them the tools they need.
Much of the team here at HUDL Music has a deep background in both the creation of music, and the business of selling it, so we’ve been there and done that…we understand how hard it is to really get to that next level, especially with all the downsides that platforms like Spotify are creating for the independent artist today, whether they realize it or not (yet).
I personally think indie artists are getting hoodwinked. With the streaming business concept in full swing, HUDL Music positions itself as the platform that allows artists to connect, collab, create, and distribute their music, all in one platform (as well as post to say, Twitter while also sharing with the HUDL Music community, all in one shot…reducing indie artists’ constantly-increasing amount of “busy work” in order to stay viable and competitive).
P&S: How do you see the importance of the indie artist + online community connection continuing to develop, to gain importance? It appears that tools — like your TipJar and Embedded Music Player — are only becoming more vital to artists as they try to build popularity, showcase their talents.
Lashion Robinson: As we continue to build tools for indie artists, we tend to think mostly about the future needs of our HUDL Music community.
For example, HUDL Music was there first to really get out there and offer a TipJar feature (not in any sort of kneejerk response to COVID-19 like Soundcloud did). We created, developed, and released that feature for our community well before COVID hit. $1/month, keep 100% of what you earn, and no fees from HUDL Music, period. You need that feature as an indie artist, but you don’t need to pay a fortune for it.
It’s that simple to us.
HUDL Music was one of the first during to recognize that community will be continuously be more and more important indie artists, as it is very hard for them to get noticed, heard or find real, working collaborators on all those other major platforms.
We’ve got killer hiphop producers, drill MCs from London, LA-based songwriters and much more, and HUDL Music helps them all connect much more easily and genuinely…again, without all the noise and B.S. of apps like Instagram.
Because it really takes more than a “collab bro?” cold DM on Instagram to make things happen in the music world, if we’re all being honest.
P&S: What’s next for HUDL Music as we hit the midpoint of 2021 and look ahead to 2022?
Lashion Robinson HUDL Music will continue to focus on removing the roadblocks for indie artists, and empowering them, in 2021 & 2022 by launching our new, all-you-can push music distribution service, sponsoring music festivals around the U.S., providing HUDL Music Featured Artist Series opportunities to indie artists for additional exposure (with real advertising dollars behind these), and continuing to get the platform out in front so that our community gets seen by more fans/listeners looking to discover new artists worldwide making absolutely killer new music for us to all fall in love with.
For us, it’s a simple theme that we’re working towards (with immense complexities that we’re focused on solving for the business of independent music): COME TOGETHER.
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