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Published on October 24th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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“Ethical music streaming service” dies after just two months

Back in the summer, we heard about Humbolt, an indie-friendly music streaming service that promised to be “ethical” in its business practices. Their website read “Support small business on Humbolt. Shop local. Listen Global.”

For $2.99 a month, users (including Canadians) were able to subscribe to the output of certain indie labels (about twenty had signed up) and dozens of independent artists. They called it “the ultimate ‘record of the month’ club’ but for everything.” Payouts to artists and labels were designed to be much better on a percentage basis than the mainstream streaming services. Subscribers also had the chance to win gifts.

It was a good try, but the whole thing has collapsed. In an email to subscribers, Humbolt says:

We’re beginning the process of dissolution. We, unfortunately, took advice from an ‘industry insider’ that proved to be a fatal error with regards to our finances. We cannot operate in the US because of it. As you know the US is the biggest indie market in music streaming consumption. That being said, also not having Merlin, Secretly Distribution, Beggars or Redeye Worldwide on board has proven difficult as well.

Back to the drawing board.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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2 Responses to “Ethical music streaming service” dies after just two months

  1. JOHN says:

    This was promising. It’s a shame because I can’t imagine too many other trying to do the same for the indies.

  2. Pingback: Issue 529: Spotify’s Playlist Tool for Indie Artists Launches; Facebook Debuts New Wave of Music Products – Platform & Stream

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