Launched in December 2013 after almost a year of development, Farugi is an online music distribution platform where independent artists can promote and sell their music, as well as merchandise, directly to fans in one easy-to-use medium.
Founder and CEO Anthony Manning-Franklin has been involved in the music industry for more than 10 years, primarily as a sound engineer and producer, and worked with many independent artists.
He said the idea for Farugi, which has no sign-up fees, arose from the fact that people were able to make money from artists without the artists themselves receiving a just share.
“I was watching people find ways of monetising music without bringing artists in on the act, and I thought that was really unfair,” Anthony said.
Farugi only takes a 10 per cent revenue cut of sales, with the remaining 90 per cent going to the artists. Consistent with this, artists receive 90 per cent of the advertising revenue generated while their music is being streamed on the platform.
Anthony said the Farugi startup team wanted a transparent revenue model that bands could be comfortable with.
“We didn’t want to change the game later down the track, we wanted to keep our intentions really clear and obvious and say that ‘this is how we’re going to make money from our platform, and this is what we think is fair’.”
So far, Farugi has received “really positive” feedback.
“People have been pretty enthusiastic about the platform. They like what it does, and they enjoy using it, which is really important,” Anthony said.
The startup was entirely bootstrapped by Anthony and three other members, one of whom Anthony refers to as “the technical guy”.
“He’s been programming for about 30 years…he’s brilliant. He’s gotten us some great deals, because he knows how to deal with all the parts of certain institutions and banks – that’s been fantastic.”
Reflecting on his own role in the startup, Anthony said there came a point when he was working part-time at his recording studio and part-time on Farugi that he knew he needed to focus entirely on the latter.
“I realised that If I didn’t do everything I possibly could to get Farugi off the ground, then I would just be wasting my time doing stuff that I wasn’t really, truly, deeply passionate about. At that point I decided I had to put all of my energy into one thing and that thing had to be Farugi. I stopped doing all of the studio stuff, I sold off most of the equipment, I got rid of the space I was using and went full on into [developing] Farugi.”
Anthony and the team would ultimately like Farugi to operate at an international level, however for the time being they’re focussed on building a strong foundation for it in Australia.
“Going international means worrying about things such as different tax setups, different royalty schemes in different countries, and their different performing rights organisations and so on and so forth. We’re taking that slowly as it comes,” Anthony said.
A number of new social features were recently launched on Farugi, including a messaging system to connect artists and fans, and a tool enabling fans to ‘favourite’ artists, and artists to favourite fellow artists. In addition, a finance feed gives artists information about how many people are buying their music in real time, and a redesigned ‘explore’ page makes discovering new music even easier on Farugi.
Check out Farugi at www.farugi.com
Anthony was first interviewed for this article by Tyson Vacher with photo by Phill Smith.