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Indie Musicians, Distribution Companies Partner To Make A Mark With Streaming

Two pictures next to each other: Anthony Anderson and Kayla Thompson in front of a gray wall.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A lot has been said about music streaming, from its power to shift consumer habits to its role in shaping how artists get paid. For better or worse, it’s completely disrupted the music industry.

GF Music Group, a local company founded by Anthony Anderson, focuses on aiding independent artists taking advantage of this disruption. Joining the ranks of services like DistroKid and TuneCore, the new digital distribution company connects artists with streaming services like Spotify, AppleMusic and Tidal.

Local artist KVTheWriter (aka Kayla Thompson) distributed “The Ratchet Tape” using GF. On the heels of “hot girl summer," a term coined by Houston Rapper Megan Thee Stallion, "The Ratchet Tape" integrates sex positivity, early 2000s nostalgia, and a reclamation of the word “ratchet.” It’s a project that’s primed for the zeitgeist, and it's her first with GF after switching from DistroKid.

She said GF was helpful with logistics, like licensing her sampling of the Ying Yang Twins classic “Salt Shaker” in her track "Girls Gone Wild, Pt. 2."

Jay Washington (Lil QWERTY to fans) also swims in the world that streaming has created. When asked about his label, he’s quick to respond: “the internet.” He uses DistroKid for distribution.

Both KV and QWERTY note that while streaming is a part of the hustle, selling merchandise and touring are the keys to profit. Money made from streaming is often nominal at best. Still, companies like GF Music and DistroKid help them connect with fans ready to listen.

Listen to the full discussion: 

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Alexis Moore was St. Louis Public Radio's production intern with St. Louis on the Air during the summer of 2019. Alexis completed her undergraduate education at Arizona State University, emphasizing in History and Film/Media Production. While there, she served as a writing tutor within Barrett, The Honors College and studied abroad at the University of Ghana.
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