Here are some answers to questions we are asked very often. If you can’t find the answer that you’re looking for here, you can find a person to talk to on the Offices or Team sections of this website.

FAQ – record labels
How is ZEBRALUTION different from other aggregators or distributors?

We have one of the broadest distribution networks, delivering content not only to the big DSPs but also to genre specialists or local services that may be important to you or your artists. We also don’t stop at making your music technically available – we are a marketing company and try to work every release to achieve maximum playlist placement and store features. Last but not least, we have a presence in all of the important Western digital markets, allowing us to really promote your music world-wide.

Why do I even need a distributor when I can opt into MERLIN deals myself?

We are proud members of MERLIN and are using most of their brilliantly negotiated framework deals with DSPs like Spotify or Deezer ourselves. MERLIN does however not offer a complete distribution footprint – there are no MERLIN deals with big mainstream services like Apple or Amazon, or with genre retailers like Beatport or Traxsource from the electronic music scene, or niche offerings for high-quality audio fans like Qobuz or HD tracks. Missing out on those deals will mean missing important revenue. Also, MERLIN can only provide the deal – all technical delivery will have to be done either using in-house technology owned by a label, or using a technical distribution platform that labels have to choose, implement, operate and pay for. Even then, your music would only be technically available – there would be nobody pitching your tracks for playlists or discussing new release campaigns with DSP label reps unless you are confident you can establish and maintain these direct relationships with DSPs on an international basis yourself.

How do I deliver my products?

Most customers upload audio and artwork files to our secure ftp server and provide meta-data to us in our custom spreadsheet. Our operations team is available to discuss other methods of delivery, from bulk hard drives shipped to us to upload of individual releases via our dashboard.

How much do you charge for your service?

We retain a distribution fee as a percentage of net revenues generated from the exploitation of your catalogue, and charge a small one-time technical fee per release. When you contact us we’ll come back with an individual offer that reflects the size and potential of your catalogue. We don’t compete with aggregator services that pay out 100% of net revenues, because we’re not just a technical platform where you upload your releases; we are a distributor that actively works your releases, and is a partner with individual advice and support in every stage of the process.

FAQ – audiobook publishers
How is ZEBRALUTION different from Audible?

ZEBRALUTION is a digital distributor. We don’t operate our own service for end users like Audible does, but we deliver our clients´ audiobook catalogue to all relevant streaming and download services, both ones from the book world like Audible, Bookbeat or Storytel, as well as music services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer or Napster.

What services are included in your offer?

Our services are explained in more detail on the Services section of our website. We basically take your audiobook files, cut them into streaming-optimized tracks, encode these tracks into the different audio codecs required by DSPs, pair them with DDEX meta-data for each track that we generate from your ONIX or other data source, and ship them to the DSPs via XML interfaces with detailed instructions on where, when and how the audiobooks can be used. We promote your authors and titles both in dialogue with the DSPs and using our own marketing platforms like our Spooks app or our audiobook playlists which we curate on services like Spotify or Apple Music. We make daily streaming and download stats available to you via our publisher dashboard and process all reports from DSPs into a single and condensed royalty reporting for you that is both easy to ingest into your accounting software as well as into your royalty systems for authors and licensors. Plus, we’re always there to help develop your individual streaming strategy and solve any problems that might occur on a day-to-day basis.

Won´t streaming cannibalize my physical CD sales or Audible revenues?

None of our customers have seen their existing revenue streams suddenly decrease when they opened their catalogues for streaming – on the contrary, they have seen continuing growth in their CD and download business while opening up an entirely new revenue stream with highly dynamic growth. This is because the audiences for each of these formats and distribution channels are entirely different: CD buyers and Audible subscribers tend to be older and mostly female, while the majority of streaming users are younger and mostly male – in fact three quarters are below 35 years of age. These streaming users would never even have considered walking into a book store to buy an audiobook – but when we present this type of content to them in the streaming services they use on a daily basis, they discover a new type of audio entertainment that for them is a welcome change to only listing to music all day long. That’s why we say: instead of trying to bring people to your audiobooks, we bring your audiobooks to the people.

What revenues can I expect to generate from streaming?

Per audiobook track listened to by an individual person, the pay-out is less than a penny, which sounds like depressingly little. Because we chop the audiobook into streaming-friendly short tracks, the payout we receive when that individual listens to the entire audiobook is already interesting; it will depend on the length of the book, but admittedly will still be below what a publisher receives for a download or sale of an audiobook on CD. What makes streaming so interesting is the fact that it´s the opportunity to tap a vast audience that has no barrier to accessing the content because they have already paid for their subscription. There are currently almost 200 million premium streaming subscribers world-wide, and that number is increasing dynamically. Little wonder that the most advanced of our publishers now make 50% of their digital revenues from streaming.

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