Koda leads the way with digital strategy

Koda has very ambitious goals within the digital field. Better and more strategic utilisation of data will help members and publishers boost their business. Koda also aims to optimise its core service by making lightning-fast distributions: ‘Performed Sunday, paid Monday’ is the working title of this new initiative.

In 2017, Koda took a significant step towards setting a new course for its entire business. ”We want to be at the very top of our industry in terms of digital development. We need to be faster, better and cheaper”, Anders Lassen, Managing Director of Koda, sums up.

Koda created an entirely new position within its organisation in 2017 –this being Head of Business Development. The objective is to launch and operate a digital strategy for tomorrow’s Koda. The man chosen for this new position is Carsten Brøns Andersen. He has previously held senior positions at CSC (now DXC) and Accenture, helping clients derive benefits from the most recent technologies within fields such as CloudComputing, Mobility, Big Data, Data Analytics and Robotics. The overall goal of adding Carsten to the Koda team is to continue and accelerate the digital development of the business, thereby facilitating better and more user-friendly services. Carsten will also align the digital strategy with Koda’s business strategy. 


They need to feel that we offer an excellent service, and that we can supply unique data of real value to them - Anders Lassen, Managing Director of Koda


Competition is inspiring

”In hindsight, I don’t think we’ve been good enough at capturing and incorporating the various new opportunities available”, says Anders Lassen. ”Our entire industry has been a little slow to respond to new technological developments. Koda is facing increasingly stiff competition; for example, we are up against private corporations with cutting-edge IT solutions that look better and are more user-friendly than what we’re currently able to offer. But that’s something we can use as motivation. Competition is a good thing – it prompts us to become even better at what we do.” 

Anders Lassen explains that the increased focus on digital services is part of the strategic changes seen in Koda in recent years. ”Not that long ago, the relationship between Koda and Koda’s members essentially consisted of the members receiving money at various times. Of course, that was all very nice, but our members didn’t always know exactly where or when that money was actually made. Today, Koda is the primary source of income for many people, and this imposes a new set of demands on our business. That is why we, in recent years, have worked towards a fundamental change in direction – we’ve moved away from a somewhat narrow focus on collecting and distributing money towards establishing deeper relationships with our members and customers. They need to feel that we offer an excellent service, and that we can supply unique data of real value to them. We have conducted surveys amongst our members, customers and other stakeholders which exposed a marked demand for more information and insight.”  

Entirely new services

Koda’s new Head of Business Development, Carsten Brøns Andersen, adds: ‘”members can be compared to self-employed individuals and small corporations on varying scales. They may do roughly the same thing, but even so their businesses are widely different, which also means that their particular needs can vary greatly. If we are to supply services that are relevant and have real value to them in future, we must maintain a close dialogue with them so  we know what they need, what works for them and what doesn’t. Of course, this means that we must be able to collect and present data that will give our members real-time insight into their business; insight that actually enables them to do useful strategic work.” 

Great benefits from big data

He provides the following takes on services that Koda might provide to members in future:

“Our data can give Koda members an idea of what platforms to choose in order to reach their audience. We can help identify the types of users who make playlists that feature their music. We hope at some point to be able to offer an analytical tool that can help plan the best timing for album releases, based on Koda’s insight into past sales and market behaviour. That sort of insight might, for example, be combined with external data on which parts of the world are best suited to live concerts featuring that member’s kind of music – or with meteorological reports about the regions you’re planning to do concerts in. Koda aims to contribute with unique, processed data that will prove useful to members – regardless of whether you’re a big, established name or part of the young, rising generation of music creators.”

No gambling with Koda revenues

Koda will be able to supply some types of data on its own; others will require partnerships with other businesses or start-ups. Anders Lassen points out how this is a key feature of Koda’s strategy for business development:

”We want to be leaders within our own industry, but we do not aim to spearhead the development of new technology. That would be a far too expensive and far too risky way to spend our members’ money. Our task is to make our organisation as flexible and agile as possible, enabling us to regularly take on board solutions – or parts of solutions – that we see working well in other industries, testing and adapting them to suit our specific business. We may have tended to see our own particular business as unique, as something that couldn’t really be compared to other businesses. However, we essentially deal with data, so we have a lot to learn from other data-intensive industries such as the realms of banking and insurance.” 

Faster distributions

‘Performed Sunday, paid Monday’. That is the working title and headline of one of the challenges that Koda has set up for itself in its new strategic objectives. Whether this ambitious goal can in fact be put into practice has yet to be seen, but Koda is currently working to shed light on this matter. The ambition of enabling day-to-day distributions is a good example of the kind of project that involves and interacts with the entire organisation – and reaches far beyond Koda itself.

”We have just set up a partnership with IBM,” says Carsten Brøns Andersen, ”to look at how the particular subset of artificial intelligence known as Machine Learning might help improve our in-house data processing. Concurrently with this, we co-operate with Teosto from Finland and TONO from Norway in our joint Polaris Future Lab, aiming to streamline the entire data flow across our societies. This is also a prerequisite for increasing our distribution speed. Finally, we also depend on getting even more efficient reporting from external sources – whether from radio stations, streaming services or affiliated collective rights management society. We have set a goal for 2018: transitioning to monthly distributions within certain areas. That alone will be a major step forward compared to before.”

Less but more

Koda’s Managing Director Anders Lassen recalls that Koda had 120 employees when he joined Koda in 2010. Back then, the organisation’s annual turnover was half a billion Danish kroner.

”Now, in 2017, our turnover exceeded one billion Danish kroner, and we’ve seen huge increases in membership and in the quantities of data processed. Even so, there are actually slightly fewer people working here at Koda now than in 2010,” says Anders Lassen and goes on to explain: ‘We have done a lot to make our organisation even more efficient. We celebrated our 90th anniversary in 2016, and we are keen to still be here 90 years from now – we believe that there are many advantages to collective rights management. For example, an entirely new member will receive the same amount of money for a single instance of airplay of their music that Paul McCartney gets. That wouldn’t necessarily be the case without collective rights management. It also helps safeguard our cultural contributions, which are crucially important to the emerging music scene. But in order to maintain collective rights management in future, we need to be competitive. We hope that our new strategy for digital development can help safeguard Koda in the future.”


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We want to be at the very top of our industry in terms of digital development. We need to be faster, better and cheaper

Anders Lassen, Managing Director of Koda