Meet The Team: IDOL

IDOL is a Paris-based music company specialising in digital distribution and technology services.

As an aggregator, it works with labels and acts such as Kitsuné, InFiné, Record Makers, Heavenly Sweetness, No Format, Glitterbeat, Sound Pellegrino, CUFF, Sebastien Tellier, Kavinsky and Rone.

As a technology provider, IDOL works with companies such as Because Music, Domino Records, Select and Wagram Music.

Last year it began rolling out an international expansion, including its first London HQ – adding to its established US base – and this year it celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The Independent Echo asked the IDOL team why they enjoy working at the company, and what they hope the future holds…


Thomas Sharp Maxwell – Director, US Operations

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL?

This year marked the 10 year anniversary of IDOL, so I flew out to Paris to celebrate. We held an anniversary soiree at Petit Bain, a venue which is actually a boat docked on the Seine, and several of our labels’ artists performed.

It was incredible to celebrate the company’s accomplishments with my talented colleagues and finally get to meet many of our European label partners. I’m even more excited to see what we can achieve over the next 10 years.

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

To me IDOL means true independence.  We’re one of the few distributors purely independent of the major label ecosystem. This approach speaks magnitudes to our core beliefs.  Since we are extremely selective of the labels we work with, we are able to focus 100% on music that speaks to us.  In this industry it’s pretty rare to work with music you love. I’m extremely proud that IDOL has stayed true to its ethos.

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

I’m very focused on replicating the same culture here in the US that IDOL has developed in Paris over the past 10 years.  This means signing exceptionally beautiful and innovative labels, building a team of energetic, passionate people who share the same love for great content, and continuing to release great records.


Benjamin Pruvost – Head of Label Relations

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL ?

To party in a small bar with Coolio in Cannes during Midem a few years ago.

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

It was hard for me to imagine spending more than a year in the same company before arriving at IDOL. I’ve worked there for 10 years now. Some colleagues often use the word “family” to speak about the team – it has a strong meaning here!

It’s really touching to realise we also have strong relationships with most of the labels we worked with. I’m proud of this.

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

Of course to carry on this spirit in the company.

And to keep on to be the ideal digital partner for our labels; to contribute to their success, by offering them the best service possible, and being able to have the solutions to the countless problematics an independent label may face everyday.


Sylvain Morton, Head of International Development

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL?

It is hard to think of one specifically but I really enjoyed our 10th anniversary party that took place in September where many of our labels and partners were present.

The vibe there was really cool and warm and I very much appreciated this moment.

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

To me IDOL notably means independence, integrity and curiosity and I am proud to work there because I see myself in these values. For instance, it is key for me to work in a company that manages to develop organically (we are self-financed) and that think long-terms in all its decisions.

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

I want us to be a key driver in the international success of our labels and to keep improving the quality of services and level of expertise we offer them.  At my level this means developing our international staff and network accordingly and I think we are on the right track in this on-going process.


Julie Anduze, Head of Content Management

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at Idol ?

To name but one, in our office, we are used to celebrating Xmas. There is tradition of choosing one employee and all of us making him or her a personalized gift.

Last year, I received my own vinyl of Serge Gainsbourg – Melody Nelson, signed by its legendary arranger, Jean-Claude Vannier, whose music is distributed by IDOL.

This gift means a lot to me: I’ve been a fan of this album since I was a kid. IDOL allows us to meet incredible people!


* What does Idol mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

IDOL originated at the beginning of digital distribution and I was the 1st employee.

There was, at this time, neither a model nor experience to reproduce or to be inspired by. This has led us to devise the way we’re working today and I’m proud of the incredible success we’ve obtained.

I rarely experience the feeling of pride, but we celebrated 10 years of IDOL a couple of months ago, with hundreds of people, and I was very moved to see the way that things have lined up, to see what the initial energy has become, with happy people and values we’re still embodying !


* What do you hope to achieve at Idol in the future?

Keep going on anticipating moves of music consumption modes. The landscape has changed so fast in recent years, but we feel that the decouvrability, algorythm and metadata are the key points. We’re in the content management golden age. It is both the challenge and the interest of the next few years.


Jean-Philippe Lecaille, Partner and CTO

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL ?

Years ago, as IDOL was still very small, we went to the release party of one our very first signed label. The ambiance was great, we were all in love with the record.

Nothing was planned, it was completely spontaneous, the artist started playing a few song with a guitar, and everyone felt just great.

At some point we decided to check how the record was selling, so we opened iTunes, and check the top 50. We were in the Top 10, and every time the store refreshed we were climbing to a new position.

The ambiance turned crazy, at the end of the party the record was No.1 and stayed there for months. It was the first No.1 for the artist, the label and IDOL, and that meant so much for all of us. It was a tremendous success, and a lovely party.

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

I’m proud being at IDOL because we manage to be very competitive, while keeping the soul of our beginnings. We are still a small team in the way we achieve and make decisions.

I really feel that I have the freedom to achieve great stuff, with smart people, in an ecosystem that is becoming more and more healthy, kind and profitable. I’m proud of all the work we’ve done that make possible all we’re about to do do.

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

I hope building tools that are simple, beautiful, and hide their complexity. The digital music business is more and more complex; I want to bring artists, labels, and distributors a clear vision, and tools to make objective decisions.

If I wasn’t software engineer I would have loved to build stuff. I’d like to achieve the kind of simplicity that some sneakers or armchairs have: their use is obvious, they look fantastic and they hide years of effort and research.


Nicolas Safieh – Head of Sales, Tech Services

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL ?

Well, I am in charge of IDOL Tech Services, which address the digital needs of indie labels and digital distributors. So I basically spend a lot of my time showing indies our apps, integrated dashboards etc.

I know it doesn’t sound really fun at first but (believe it or not) I couldn’t be more happy when each time I see the unanimously positive reactions of people looking at our platform! It’s really rewarding getting such great feedback and that’s what keep me highly motivated in presenting our technology.

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

IDOL is both lots of work and lots of fun. Despite the fact that it is rapidly and constantly growing, we keep a family spirit that I really enjoy every day at the office!

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

In the past 18 months, we’ve moved from being “just” the leader in our country (France) to signing new partnerships all around the globe and there are more to come. So I just wish we keep on growing like that! We are innovating a lot and have big plans for the coming year so I’m quite confident 🙂


Tarafa Sahloul – Head of Sales, Distribution

* What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you at IDOL ?

Oh, I have so many things in mind right now! I should say it’s always a great moment for me when we start working with a new exciting label.

Maybe the coolest moment was my meeting and our partnership with Nick Sylvester from Godmode, home of Shamir, Soft Lit, Yvette… a small but awesome Brooklyn based label who produces very advanced electronic stuff.

Not only I love this label, but also it was our first step in the USA. Now we have an office in Williamsburg, a beautiful roster of labels, a physical distribution deal and awesome plans!

 

* What does IDOL mean to you and why are you proud to work there?

IDOL means a lot to me. I used to co-run my own small indie label which was distributed by IDOL. At that time, I was already impressed by the quality of service and all the great advice they provided to us. Now, I’m a part of the team.

I’m really proud of what we have achieved these last years as an independent company. We don’t depend on anybody, we have a strong indie and family spirit which allow us to be creative, proactive, and always develop new services, new technical tools… It’s so exciting to see how we evolved… and it’s just the beginning!

 

* What do you hope to achieve at IDOL in the future?

I want to go on with the same enthusiasm and passion. I hope to keep digging the new exciting projects from the future and give big new successes to IDOL!