Founded 25 years ago and renowned in the world of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), AEI is one of the UK’s leading independent music companies.
The group’s interests cover many areas of the music industry from music publishing, artist development, distribution & streaming, content production, sponsorship, live streaming, live events and festivals to music studios and shared workspaces aimed at those with music at their heart. AEI has a firm digital presence on more than 120 of the leading music platforms around the world.
We caught up with Group CFO Johnny Evans to hear how Centtrip is supporting AEI in kicking one of the music industry’s bad habits – the slow payment of royalties.
How does Centtrip’s international payments system support your business?
We distribute artists’ music across multiple digital platforms so when a track is streamed or downloaded, royalties are due to the artist. We pay out $millions each year and it’s growing quickly. It’s a large volume payments, so efficiency is key.
This is where Centtrip comes in. We’re paying artists all over the world in multiple currencies. Centtrip enables us to pay them all quickly, easily, efficiently and cost-effectively.
We’ve developed our own self-service royalties platform to pay artists monthly but, before Centtrip, we were processing the payments manually.
So, what made you choose Centtrip?
I met with the Centtrip team and it seemed like a great meeting of minds. Centtrip is music industry focused. They understood what I needed from the outset in terms of delivering payments to a huge amount of artists all around the world.
Artists are very music-driven and don't want to do paperwork or bother with bank details. Centtrip understood this. It was a great match from the outset.
And, what’s been the biggest benefit for AEI?
The biggest benefit of using Centtrip is efficiency. It makes our whole month-end royalty run stress-free. It frees up a vast amount of our time and the artists are getting their money straight away. No-one's complaining. It's a pain-free way of handling large volumes of monthly transactions.
Using Centtrip is saving us hugely in terms of resources. It's a much more efficient process, it's preventing us from going a little bit crazy with frustration at how manual and error-prone the process was.
With our old manual process, our bank fees were astronomical. Centtrip has mitigated all of that.
So, your artists are happy, too?
Our artists love the fact that they get paid monthly and in their local currency. That’s unheard of in the music industry. Normally, you'd be paid around 9 months or more after a track has come out.
They benefit by getting their money quickly and getting it right, first time. We benefit through an efficient and pain-free process.
How do you see Centtrip fitting into AEI’s future?
Currently, we use Centtrip partly as a payments house and partly as an FX house. We use Centtrip prepaid Mastercards for travel, as well.
Working with Centtrip has always been a really good experience. The team is just brilliant – always approachable, amenable and responsive.
We're looking to grow by ten times over the next ten years, but we're certainly not going to expand the finance team by ten times. We want to leverage technology in order to grow smoothly and efficiently. I feel that the way Centtrip has dealt with us, they're the company to stick with in order to make this happen.
Johnny, thanks for your time.