The System Behind The Scenes: An inside look at digital promo service...

The System Behind The Scenes: An inside look at digital promo service Haulix

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The wait is unbearable. The lead up to a favorite artist’s release feels like a never-ending stretch of time. While you’re biting your fingernails and waiting anxiously, platforms such as Haulix are grinding away behind the scenes to make sure everything goes smoothly for the artist. The digital promo platform allows users to securely share music before the release with members of the press in order to prepare for reviews, interviews, and premieres. With the music industry still working to adapt to a largely digital world, Haulix helps to prevent piracy and leaks—not to mention cut down on the stacks of physical promo CDs. We caught up with founder and CEO Matt Brown to learn a little more about how Haulix works.

When did you first get inspired to start Haulix?
MATT BROWN: We’re almost at our eight-year anniversary. I used to own a blog—a metal music blog—and I used to go to the mailbox and just see all these physical CDs getting mailed out, and the mailbox used to just overflow; every week it would be overflowing with disks. I was a computer science student at the time, so I just thought there would be a better way of doing it with software, and that’s where the initial idea kind of came up.

How did you first get the company off the ground and build a reputation?
Well, I have a programming background so I didn’t have to hire anybody to build the software; we just built it ourselves. I had a business partner back then so I was able to start it with like $800 and we just started building it. Then I literally contacted record labels one by one to invite them to try it out and it just kept growing from there.

Your work is largely behind the scenes. Can you tell us a little bit about what makes Haulix such a valuable tool for the music industry?
The nature of our business [puts us] behind the scenes; not many people know that we’re there. We’re kind of like the middleman in between publicist and all the press people—like radio stations, magazines, bloggers. A big leaking point is two to four weeks before an album is released to the public and, unfortunately, a huge part of that leaking point is people in the press. So it’s important that that music is fingerprinted and locked down those two to four weeks before it’s released so that it doesn’t leak, and then they have bigger sales when it does get released.

What’s next for Haulix? Are there any big improvements or expansions in mind for the foreseeable future?
Yes, we’ve been working a little over a year now on the next version. It’s not just a fresh coat of paint; it’s going to actually be a lot of stuff rewritten from the ground up. The nature of a publicist is that they use a service like Haulix to send out promo invitations and then they use a separate service for sending out their press release emails—so we built from scratch a hardcore press release email marketing system so they’ll be able to use our tool for both. That’s one thing we spent a lot of time on, not to mention our customers are sending out up to two million emails per month so we had to build something that could withstand that large load. I’m sure that’s going to double now that we will be offering press release support. The system will work a lot better on mobile devices and iPads, too, so we spent a lot of time on that. We’re really excited.

I have to ask: Do you ever get to sneak an early listen on anything exciting?
You know, I’m so busy and there’s so much music that comes out that I really don’t. I’m old school—I’m 40 years old—so I come from the days of having cassettes and everything and then I went to CDs, and to be able to just have an album pop in my mind, new or even old, and be able to just go on Amazon and buy it for like eight bucks—that’s how much a cup of coffee costs nowadays—and then be able to download it instantly is just amazing to me. That’s just such a small price to pay to be able to support these artists. I like seeking out new stuff and buying it and being able to download it right away. S

This feature was originally published in issue 53 of Substream Magazine.