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Startup Music Service Gives Off Alternative Vibe

Independent performers, music venues and record labels have a new channel to distribute their content to fans. Lyynks Music is a North Hollywood startup operating a website for direct selling of music, concert tickets and merchandise. It had been in development for about three years before going online in September. Chief Executive Chris Sievernich said that so far, about 500 independent artists, labels and venues have signed up to use Lyynxs and its website, which requires no coding experience. “Once you understand the system you can be online in a few minutes,” Sievernich said. Lyynks is funded by private investors and about $10 million has been spent so far on development. The company has 13 employees working in office space in the NoHo Arts District, including an editorial team that writes reviews and features on established and emerging indie musicians and bands. Performers, as well as record labels and venues, can set up their own channels to promote themselves, post videos and blog posts, and sell songs, concert tickets and merchandise. “It is perfect for content creators to be able to deliver their own marketing and branding,” said Brandon Dorsky, who handles business development. Analytics accessed by the performers or label owners can track how many website visitors are previewing songs versus buying a track and can pinpoint sales to a specific ZIP code. That can help in an artist decide where to book shows, Dorsky said. Lyynks finds itself up against formidable competition. Apple Inc.’s iTunes store accounts for more than 80 percent of music downloads and adds thousands of new tracks a month. Online music services such as Pandora Media Inc. and Spotify Ltd. have changed the music industry by offering listeners the opportunity to program the songs they want to hear. Google Inc. through Google Play and Amazon.com Inc. also have entered the music distribution business. But Sievernich maintains Lyynks’ technology gives content creators better control over distribution and marketing. For example, the iTunes platform has a set price for how much music goes for – from 69 cents to $1.29 a track. With Lyynks, a performer can select any price, with the company taking a 20 percent cut from any music track or merchandise transaction. For ticket sales, there is a sliding scale depending on the price of the ticket. Gale Rosenberg, a music industry publicist who operates her own firm Web ‘n Retail in Sherman Oaks, said that selling music whether in a disc format or streaming is difficult so performers haven been relying on additional revenue streams such as merchandise and ticket sales. Offering those sales is a strongpoint for Lyynks, but there is a challenge in getting young people to come to the site amid so many options. “You are not going to pull loyal users of Spotify or Pandora into a new site without substantial marketing and outdoor advertising,” Rosenberg said. Lyynks plans a substantial marketing campaign this year to get the word out to artists and fans about the site, still in Beta phase. Golden Dog? GD Entertainment & Technology Inc., an Agoura Hills production company of animated children and family programming, has completed a reverse merger to go public. The company, previously known as Golden Dog Productions, merged with Donini Inc., a dormant public company headquartered in Montreal. Financial details were not disclosed. Chief Operating Office Larry Bracco said that the merger was a way for GD Entertainment to better pursue capital for expansion and future acquisitions. The company was founded in 2004 to finance, produce and distribute family-friendly content. Releases include animated DVDs “Conan the Barbarian” and “Voyages of Young Dr. Doolittle.” Two projects are currently in the pipeline – an animated feature “Blue Elephant” that is a co-production with a Thai animation company and a Cirque du Soleil-type live event for the Asian market. GD is just starting work on “Blue Elephant” and the film is not expected to be released until 2016. The film is the third in a series based on a Thai folktale. “They came to us and wanted to partner and Westernize it,” said Bracco of the Thai animation company. The Cirque-style show will begin performances later this year beginning in South Korea. In November, GD also signed a co-production agreement with author Bill Myers and his Amaris Media LLC, in Wilmington, Del., to develop and produce home entertainment and e-book releases based on Myers’s “Secret Agent” book series. Bracco and GD Entertainment Chief Executive Dong H. Chung have experience with producing and distributing family-friendly content. Bracco operated a consulting firm for media companies, including Golden Dog Productions. Chung co-produced content with DIC Entertainment when it was a unit of Walt Disney Co. and with Focus on the Family, the Christian ministry based in Colorado Springs. “It is our passion,” Bracco said. “We felt comfortable in that realm with our background in animation and the entertainment space in general.” Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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