Saving the Music Industry -- Environmentally, At Least

As the music biz starts tossing out jewel cases by the busload as they try to jump on the green bandwagon, a Canadian enterprise is also looking to clean up the music industry. Yangaroo, a Toronto-based venture, is innovating the way labels sell their products to radio stations with a digital alternative.

Launched in 2003 in Canada and 2005 in the United States, Yangaroo's Digital Media Distribution Service (DMDS) works as the middleman between music labels and radio stations, delivering music and promotional information the green way: via e-mail to radio stations. "I saw the change coming with Napster, people starting to move music around on the Internet," says Cliff Hunt, COO of Yangaroo, who worked in the music industry for 25 years. "I knew there had to be use for a technology like this that was efficient broadcast quality and secure."

Security is a three-part process. The first part is keystroke recognition, then identifying and sending to a specific individual -- not a machine. Second, files are mailed in encrypted form, should someone hack into the system. Finally, developers incorporated watermarking, so if the file is leaked after being received, it can be traced back to the source.

Standard industry practice is producing and packaging CDs and promo materials, and sending it off to radio station contacts. Yangaroo estimates that the entire process consumes about 0.7 pounds of fossil fuel per CD.

Currently, over 600 Canadian radio stations are receiving promo packets from such major labels as EMI, BMG Canada, Universal Music Canada, and Warner Music Canada via DMDS. In 2007, Yangaroo distributed 2.3 million songs to DJs and programmers at radio stations across Canada, and 1.3 million in the United States.

Canada's entire music distribution system is digital now, Hunt said, and now Yangaroo is trying to do the same in America. "This just helps them to be more efficient in every way," Hunt says, "Its much less expensive, much faster, and the time saving is enormous. Plus, it's so much more environmentally friendly." The company already has a patent in Canada and is pending one in the United States, which Yangaroo execs expect to receive by the end of September.

As for global expansion, Yangaroo already has a partnership set up in the United Kingdom with the London-based advertisement firm, Adstream, and hopes to expand to the rest of Europe following the near future.

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