Cloud 9 Music is an internationally acclaimed record label and music publisher representing some of the most celebrated authors, artists, and iconic catalogs in the world. Since launching almost 18 years ago, from a 4m2 office in Amsterdam, it has grown into the leading independent publisher in the Benelux and one of the biggest independent labels in all of Europe. We talked to Leander Maas, Senior Label Manager of Cloud 9 Music about the business, new talent, and the collaboration with VIRPP.
What is the story behind Cloud 9 Music?
“It all began almost two decades ago with dance music. We started with big names like Armin van Buuren and Hardwell. In more than 17 years, Cloud 9 Music grew into one of the biggest independents in the Netherlands. We work with several labels, next to our own Cloud 9 Music, there are sub-labels we have started with partners. Together we represent between 30 to 35 popular and promising artists such as Antoon, Savine, Kris Kross Amsterdam, Snelle, Jaap Reesema, Fleur, and Big2. Cloud 9 Music is a real breeding ground for new talent. We get in on the ground floor and help elevate new artists to their full potential. The great thing about our company is that we don’t focus on one genre in particular. Our artists make music in genres like pop, Dutch, dance, hardstyle, and rap. And we always look for the next big thing.”
How do you find those new artists?
“That is the million-dollar question. To be honest, it is pretty hard to find promising new talents. The cool thing about Cloud 9 is we are not only a label but also have a publishing business. They organize writing camps a couple of times a year. Those events are a great way to spot new talent. Next to that, we also got our finger on the pulse when it comes to educational institutions like de Herman Brood Academy, and we get demos. Lots of demos.”
Why did you choose VIRPP to help you with that search?
“One of my colleagues had a meeting with VIRPP and they talked about publishing, the industry, and future opportunities. Afterward, we concluded that VIRPP could be a very beneficial tool to sift through demos in an efficient way. We started talking and decided to give it a try. For us, the great thing about the platform is the uniformity. Users, who want to send demos, can do that in the most organized way, including backstories about the artist and tracks. Those things are mostly forgotten when you get an unannounced email with an attachment of 20 or more MBs.”
Is Cloud 9 Music jumping straight in with competitions?
“The competition element of VIRPP is something we really like and hope to use in the future. For the next six months, we are planning to learn the ins and outs of the platform, to begin with. We have noticed it is mostly dance and urban driven and want to see and hear the talent in those genres. It would be great if we can organize a competition, where users can drop their demo for one of our artists.”
What is Cloud 9 Music hoping to find at VIRPP?
“We are really open to everything and everyone. Our label is home to many different genres, but what I personally hope to find at the platform is a more balance between male and female artists. Especially in the pop genre, female artists are taking over.
As a label I only can say that we fully support this movement which is going one for a while now.”
Cloud 9 Music is a one-stop shop, can you tell us more about that?
“We have just moved from Amsterdam to a new, big and high-tech office in Laren, near Hilversum. Thanks to the move, Cloud 9 has access to two modern studios, a stage for showcases and concerts, and even a club. This is on top of the extra power of our publishing business. So, we can basically facilitate everything for our talents in one place.”
What advice can you give to users who want to send their demo to Cloud 9 Music?
“The big question everyone should ask themselves is: Is this the best I can do? Is this demo an accurate representation of me and my music? If there is any doubt, please go back to the drawing board. Sadly, we get excuses like it was not finished yet or something is missing all the time. Believe me, when I say, the people on the other side of the table do not want to hear that. Also, new talent should take a good hard look at themselves. Figure out who you are and what you want to become. Naturally, you need to have the talent and skills but you should also be open to advise and changes.”