Our Mission & Vision @ Proton
Want to come work with us? Proton is currently hiring engineering positions in North & South America. Here’s a bit more info about Proton, our team & company culture.
Since starting in 2000, Proton’s mission has always been to lead the electronic music industry forward. As a digital distributor, we look for ways to help our record labels save time, increase earnings, and grow in a reliable & innovative way. Running a digital electronic music label is a lot of work, but Proton makes it easier, sustainable, and a lot more fun.
The crew that runs Proton also run our own record labels, produce our own tracks, and many of us are DJs too. We’re passionate about electronic music and have built Proton to help solve problems that we face every day as music makers and lovers ourselves.
Currently, our main focus is monetizing DJ mixes on Spotify & Apple. Electronic music is primarily consumed in DJ mixes, but most of the places DJ mixes are played do NOT earn any money for music labels or artists. We’re changing that by making it possible & easier for artists & DJs to upload mixes to Spotify & Apple, where everyone involved can actually get paid.
Our vision is that eventually, electronic music labels will earn more money from DJ mixes than their unmixed sales and streams. It will take a lot of work to get there, but artists & labels deserve nothing less. Read about Phase 1 & Phase 2 of the launch so far, plus the new promo pool platform we just launched in beta.
Our Business Model
Proton builds software & services that power over 2000 independent electronic music labels. Our core business is digital music distribution: helping our clients deliver their catalog to DJ stores like Beatport and streaming platforms like Spotify, while also helping them monetize on social media networks like YouTube & Facebook. Proton earns a commission on revenue generated through our platform: when our client’s music is sold, streamed, or used in social media posts.
On Spotify alone, our music labels are generating more than 1 million streams a day. And at the start of 2021, Proton was the #3 best-selling distributor on Beatport!
There are a lot of digital distributors out there, but there are none like Proton. Our values set us apart from an industry otherwise obsessed with growth, mired in technical debt, and generally out of touch with actual needs of the electronic music creatives & community.
- Love & Respect for the Music — At Proton, everything we do is based on a passion and respect for the music & the creatives who make it. While this may sound cheesy, and any music company would say it, these are not hollow words: our love for the music guides everything we do. Our track record speaks volumes: see our greatest hits below!
- Lead with Integrity & Vision — Proton was born out of a lack of transparency, accountability, and technical leadership in the rest of the electronic music industry. We were upset artists weren’t getting paid fairly, but quickly learned why: it was increasingly difficult for label managers to actually do that in a digital era without the right tools. From our inception, we’ve been devoted to leading the industry forward with a vision for what needs to change, with creative & timely solutions that solve real problems & build trust with artists, music labels, DJs, and their fans.
- Grow Sustainably — Like our clients, Proton is a true independent. We’re not owned by another company and we’re also fully bootstrapped: this means we are not beholden to investors. While the rest of our industry (monopolies, startups and private equity backed firms) are obsessed with growth and scale, Proton is devoted to sustainable growth that doesn’t compromise our values. And it’s working: for the last 4 years, our average annual growth has been over 35%.
Our Greatest Hits
- Beatport Transparency — Proton was the first (and still only) platform helping artists see how many followers & daily sales they have on Beatport. While this might seem minor, other distributors (and Beatport itself) don’t give artists any daily reporting, which is a big deal since Beatport is the primary place DJs get their music.
- Smart Contracts & Automated Accounting — Proton was the first (and still only) distro platform that helps music labels fully automate contracts & accounting with their artists, including automatic management of expenses to recoup costs before artists get paid. This saves music labels a huge amount of time, helps them safely invest in their own businesses, while making sure artists get paid fairly & reliably.
- DJ Mixes on Spotify & Apple — Proton is the only distro platform that fully unlocks our label’s catalog for use in monetized DJ Mixes on Spotify & Apple. In 2020, on average, each mix helped boost paid plays by over 10%. Since the beta started in 2019, we’ve helped power over 13 million additional streams for our artists & labels. And we’re just getting started!
- Promo Pool — We’re the only distro platform that offers a completely automatic & free promo pool platform. This allows music labels to easily share upcoming music with tastemaking DJs in exchange for the DJ’s feedback & support. A core component in the electronic music industry, promo pools have traditionally been expensive & time consuming — but that’s now a thing of the past. Most importantly, DJs in a Proton promo pool can also start featuring our music labels’ catalog in their mixes on Spotify & Apple, boosting earnings for everyone (including the DJs themselves).
What’s it like working at Proton?
Proton is currently hiring engineering positions in North & South America. Here’s a bit more info about our team & company culture!
Work Environment: 100% Remote & Independently Motivated
Proton is a fully remote organization, so everyone on our team must be comfortable & able to thrive without in person collaboration or a high level of daily social interactions. Our engineering team is entirely based in North/South America, so time zones are generally aligned. We organize our work in Asana, Slack, and GitHub.
Flexible Full Time, Supporting Lifestyle Design
Proton is committed to supporting lifestyle design & personal freedom for our team. While we have full time salaried team members working 5 days a week, we also have contractors working flexible 15–30 hour weeks, or full time staff that squeeze their time into 4 days and take Friday off. In other words, we’re intentionally flexible to find a schedule that helps individuals thrive with a work/life balance.
Proton’s open positions are full time, in that we require candidates to not have any other paid engineering work. However, it doesn’t need to be a salaried 5 day a week job: we’re also open to contractors who want a flexible schedule, but don’t want to commit to a full 5 day work week.
Self-Starters & Creative Problem Solvers
We’re a team of self-starters who are not afraid to jump into new systems we don’t understand, come up with a proposed solution before asking for help, and always open to trying & learning new things. We’re looking for like minded engineers to join us!
Some closing notes about our music…
For those not familiar with the inner workings of electronic music & DJ culture, there’s an important aspect to understand that differentiates our style of music from the rest of the industry…
Unlike other musical genres, the “data model” behind the electronic music ecosystem is more complex than simply an artist, their music, and their fans. Proton’s deep understanding (and embrace) of this sets us apart. There are a few moving parts…
- Original Artists — Create & produce original tracks that get signed to…
- Music Labels — Who organize & promote each release, often with…
- Remix Artists — Other producers who create their own version of the original track.
- DJs — Who buy the tracks on stores like Beatport & mix the music into…
- Mixes — Which contain tracks by various artists & music labels, listened to by…
- Casual Fans — Who finally hear the original tracks & remixes, often on…
- Channels — Carefully, independently curated blogs & brands that premiere tracks & invite DJs to be featured.
After 2 decades in the industry, we’ve learned that the structure of this complex but highly collaborative ecosystem creates a positive feedback loop which leads to continuous growth. Not simply financial growth, but new genres of music, casual fans becoming DJs, DJs & producers becoming friends, channels forming their own music labels, etc.
When you become a fan of electronic music, it sets you on an endless journey. At Proton, we continuously find joy & meaning guiding people along this path — and building tools to help them along the way, so they can go further. It’s incredibly fun & fulfilling!