Merseyside Innovation Awards 2016 First Monthly Winner Announced!

Liverpool-headquartered online digital music distributor Ditto Music is eyeing international expansion after being named as the first monthly winner of the Merseyside Innovation Awards 2016.

Ditto Music's 'Record Label in a Box', which launched in September 2015, aims to provide customers with everything they need to set up and run a successful record label, including start-up paperwork, a 

Jan MIA Winner Ditto Music
Pictured L-R: Catherine Melling, North West
Fund with Lee and Matt Parsons, Ditto Music

Barclays business bank account, contract templates, a music industry events calendar, 12 months' distribution, a domain name, and a music industry opportunities database. Ditto Music describes the service as "the first of its kind in the world".

Chief Executive Matt Parsons, who set up the business with his brother Lee in 2005 told Awards sponsor Insider "It's the first award we've won for Record Label in a Box. Hopefully it's the first of many and it's nice to be recognised in Merseyside where we're based.

"Record Label in a Box is based on our experience of playing in bands and starting our own record label. It took us six months and the only thing we even did was release a song.

"It aims to address the problems that me and Lee had ten years ago. We couldn't get our music out there so we did it ourselves."

The new product complements the existing offering from Ditto Music, which markets a range of "record label services" to musicians such as distribution to platforms including iTunes, Google Play and Spotify, and promotion and marketing.

Ditto Music now has 85,000 bands on its books from around the world, and currently releases 300-500 singles and albums per week. It is the record label for established artists such as rappers Stormzy and Lady Leshurr, and it looked after the first singles for Grammy winner Ed Sheeran and fellow singer-songwriter Sam Smith.

According to Parsons, Ditto Music is currently on course to turn over approximately £3m this year. Headquartered in Liverpool, it now has more than 30 members of staff worldwide with US offices in Nashville, Austin and San Diego, an Australian office in Melbourne, and a franchise in Cyprus.

Parsons said: "The plans for the future are for more international expansion. We're looking at Sweden over the next six months and probably after that Germany and Canada."

The Merseyside Innovation Awards aim to recognise and reward companies and individuals in Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Halton, Sefton and Wirral that use creativity to fuel growth and profitability.

The 2016 Awards feature two categories:

  • Merseyside Innovation Award: Up to £1 million turnover; and
  • Merseyside Innovation 'Prestive' Award £1 million to £25 million turnover.

Each month, the MIA judging panel selects a monthly winner who are then whittled down to three finalists before being crowned the overall winner for the year from the up to £1 million turnover category. 

Mitchell Charlesworth and MC Vanguard Corporate FInance are once again proud to support the awards. Other sponsors include BBC Radio Merseyside, Brabners, Unilever, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership, NatWest, the University of Liverpool Management School, Insider, Village Software, WP Thompson, C-Tech Innovation, North West Fund and Trustech Smart Venures.

Merseyside Innovation Awards are also proud to be featuring as part of the International Festival of Business 2016's 'The Edge' Fringe Festival.

For more information about the Awards, and to join us at our 'Meet the Sponsors' lunch on 12 April please contact Cara Bartlett. The deadline for entries into this year's awards is 30 April 2016.

This story originally appeared in Insider North West and can be read here.

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