What is INICAT?
INICAT is a portmanteau, i.e. a made-up word consisting of the words "(to) initiate" and "(to) catalyse." More specifically, INICAT is a DIY platform for musicians and their projects. Sharing, giving and taking are the key aspects of the platform that serve musicians and their fans (e.g. “pay more if you want to” and free downloads). The creation and performance of music usually requires not only a bunch of time but also a large amount of money. Without musicians, there is no music, and without fan relationships, there is hardly any sustainable support for the musician – whether financially or interpersonally. Therefore, giving and taking is very important to mutually strengthen the relationship between the musician and the fan. INICAT provides useful tools that enable each person to strengthen this relationship. If you have an idea that you think should be implemented, feel free to drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org Your contribution is important to improve INICAT and to make it a community project!
…okay, but what makes INICAT different from other music platforms?
INICAT was not founded in order to make a quick buck and buy a Mercedes right away or some other self-serving luxuries, no! Our interest is definitely another. We want to build a DIY music community that really offers something useful to musicians – primarily financial freedom and independence. As quickly as possible, we want to provide a platform that really gives 100% of the shop revenues to the artists. Also, we want to organize more lovely concerts with the Inicat community (e.g. Inicat Sessions) to be able to interact with musicians offline and to experience and establish many other things with members of this community. The goal is to have bands that have “made it” support bands that are still climbing the mountain to success . But, we need you to help us build this community.
Sounds good, but what are these “useful tools?”
By that we mean the "Thank You" tool, the “Heartcore Supporter” tool and the freely available and customizable artist page with an integrated shop to distribute your own music to your fans. Other tools, such as a special kind of crowd funding with project promoters are also under development.
What is this "Thank You" tool?
“Thank Yous” are gifts from users to musicians in the form of short, positive feedback or even a small financial infusion by clicking on the heart button. This means that musician’s can receive a donation for each piece of content they share on the platform. At the same time, the musician can easily tell which content (e.g. music video or post) is the most interesting to their fans.
What or who is a Heartcore Supporter?
A "Heartcore Supporter" is a user who supports a musician financially over a longer period of time. These accelerators are usually very reliable fans. These financial rewards create the opportunity for musicians to thank their fans in a unique way and to give their fans something back. These rewards can be free tickets to a concert, free downloads of their songs, living room concerts or anything imaginable that an artist is willing to give to their fans.
What can I do with an artist page?
You can see the artist page as your personal website, which can be linked to the websites of other artists on a large platform or function completely independently. So, you can connect to other musicians and your community through your artist page, sell (or give away) your songs in your personal online store and set your own prices. For this, we provide you with legal terms and conditions and monthly MOSS-compliant billing for your taxes (via e-mail). You can communicate everything you want others to know about on your artist page by creating interesting posts, adding photos and videos or thanking your fans in different ways. Be creative and do not just take from your fans but also give them something back because you will need them sooner or later!
Furthermore, your fans can decide whether they want to pay more for your music, give you a quick feedback with small amounts of financial support or become a "Heartcore Supporter" (monthly sponsor) and receive special rewards from you.
FAQ Music Store
How do I sell music on INICAT?
Selling your music on INICAT is very easy to do. All you need is a bank account (IBAN) and the corresponding address. That's it (…okay, and your music, of course)! For more information see the Mangopay FAQ.
What makes your music store different from other music stores?
Everyone is allowed to sell their music. It does not matter if you are registered with a collecting society, cooperate with a label, use Creative Commons or a classic copyright, or operate a label yourself. On INICAT, you can license, offer and get support for your work. In this case, all income goes directly into your account. Furthermore, users have the opportunity to pay more if they want to, which is very rarely the case at other music stores/platforms. The option of paying more than the original price is used quite often on INICAT.
How can I boost my sales income?
First of all, for clarification: There is no such thing as a magical formula to get your fans to empty their pockets as quickly as possible. However, this should not be your goal if you want to build a long-lasting fanbase. We provide you with a whole set of features that will allow you to have, or at least increase the chance of establishing, a lasting fanbase. You can generate financial support through the “Thank You” tool (e.g. in the newsfeed), as well as through sales of music in your online store and also from your Heartcore Supporters (monthly supporters). If you want to know more about these features, scroll up. Additionally, it is possible to share your albums, individual tracks (pre-listenable!) or even your entire artist page on social media (e.g. Facebook). Do not forget to let your fans know that they can support you on your artist page on INICAT, e.g. by linking your INICAT store to your own website, Facebook or YouTube pages. Here are a few more tips for gaining supporters: * Offer monthly living room concerts * Make free downloads of your music available * Start a studio podcast when you record your new album * Think about periodically changing the motifs of your T-shirts/merchandise * Include your fanbase in creative processes, e.g. find out if one of your fans can draw well and would help you out (do not be afraid to ask for help!) In short, the more you share new and different content (which should be related to you and your music) on INICAT with your fans, and if you make them feel they are more than just consumers, the sooner your fans will voluntarily help you out – financially as well as in other ways. You can find further suggestions on our blog. And if you still have no clue, just tell us, we will be happy to help you! Do not ask how you can make someone pay for your music. Rather, ask yourself how you can get someone to voluntarily provide financial or other forms of support for you and your music!
Why do I need to upload WAV files?
Very simple: this format is loss-free and guarantees the best possible quality. Using this format, we can convert your music to the format that your supporters want to use in the end – MP3 (VBR) or FLAC.
OK, and how do I get my music into a loss-free format?
If your new songs come from the studio, they are probably already in WAV format. When importing old tracks, e.g. from a CD, you can use iTunes to rip the tracks in WAV format.
What is the maximum upload size for tracks and albums?
Per track, there is a maximum upload size of 200 MB. For albums, there is no limit.
Does INICAT obtain ownership rights of my music?
No. All rights remain with you. You can find detailed information about this in our terms and conditions, but in short: We use only the rights we need in order to provide this service on INICAT – for example, the non-exclusive right to sell and to preview your uploaded music, as well as to display your published artwork, lyrics, and graphics.
Can I upload cover songs, mix tapes or mashups?
Yes and no. Our terms require that you have all the necessary content rights for your music. For example, if you want to upload a mashup of your own music and you have the rights to these songs, then it is legally possible.
What is copyright law?
The copyright protects your music under the classic copyright of the country where you have registered your music. Downloads or reuse of your music are only possible with your permission.
What copyright form do I need to use when I am registered at a collecting society?
If you have registered your music with a collecting society, you can only use "copyright" as a copyright form.
What do I need to consider when I am registered at a collecting society company?
Collecting societies usually prohibit the free download and free streaming of your music. Also pre-listening to your music is preset to 90 seconds.
What happens if I am not registered at a collecting society?
Nothing. But, for your future customers and fans it means a lot. Under traditional copyright, you can stream your music on INICAT in full length and give your fans the opportunity to pre-listen to your music. You can also decide whether your music should be licensed with Creative Commons and choose one of the six CC licenses.
Can I sell my music under a Creative Commons license?
Yes, but even more than that, you can choose one of the Creative Commons licenses when uploading, if you have not licensed your music yet. Here’s a little tip: If you want to spread your music quickly, "NC" (non-commercial) is the wrong choice. There are uncertainties for potential users of your music under this license. For example, if a director uses your music under "NC" for his/her Youtube video and this video is a success, he/she could theoretically monetize this video on his/her YouTube channel. But since the NC license forbids this, he/she would have to remove your music from the video. Think carefully beforehand about how you wish to proceed.
What about taxes?
It is your responsibility to transfer the corresponding taxes (income, sales, real estate, VAT or other) to your respective tax agency. We recommend that you consult with your personal tax adviser on the best course of action. As soon as you are registered as an artist on INICAT you will receive an e-mail every month. Take this to your tax adviser and to be on the safe side.
Which pricing of the tracks / albums works best?
This depends on many factors (for example, the size of your fanbase, your band’s image in regard to high prices, etc.). In most cases, the "Let fans voluntarily pay more" option increases the probability that people will actually pay more than your set price (that is, if you did not overprice your music). Ask yourself if and how much you would voluntarily pay for your album or for an album of a similar band. Also, think about free download strategies if your music should be accessible to everyone. Keep in mind that selling music is only one way to receive financial support as a musician.
In order to make the "Let fans voluntarily pay more" option work smoothly, you should not use any marketing price thresholds (e.g. €0.99, €4.99 or €11.99). This supermarket concept works with bananas or diapers but would contradict the "Let fans voluntarily pay more" principle.
Can I sell my music on iTunes or Amazon, too?
If you are on a label, hopefully it will take care of that. But even if you are not on any label, you can sell your music where you want to. We do not dictate anything. We just want to be the place for you and your fans to meet and support each other.
Is my music automatically added to Amazon or iTunes when I sell my music on INICAT?
No, we are not a digital sales partner. INICAT is, among other things, a service for directly selling your music to your fans.
How can I change the order of the tracks of an album?
Go to "Newsfeed", click on "Music" and click on the album whose track order you want to change. Now you should see an overview of your album. Drag and drop the track to the position you want it to be in.
What happens to the tracks / albums if they have not been released yet?
You can save them within your account by clicking on the "Save" button and thus prepare them without any rush or pressure. If you have all the information together and want to publish your tracks and albums, click on "Publish". Only then are your tracks and albums visible and accessible to the public.
ISRC, EAN / UPC – what’s this for?
The ISRC or EAN / UPC code is only used to identify your musical works. This simplifies and accelerates settlement with the collecting societies. If you do not cooperate with any label or company, you do not need these codes.
Can I get ISRC, EAN / UPC codes from INICAT?
Are the ISRC or EAN codes embedded in downloaded audio files?
No. If your CD comes from the studio, the ISRCs are burned to a special data track. However, here on INICAT, ISRCs are not embedded in the audio files.
Why do I get an error message that one of the codes is not valid?
Don’t panic. It’s probably just a typo. Generally, these codes are often displayed separately in order to be able to read them better. Nevertheless, the system can only work with the numbers written together.
The EAN / UPC code is commonly used for music albums and has 12 to 13 digits. No more, no less. No letters. No hyphens.
Correct format for entering: 123456654321 The ISRC code is commonly used for individual tracks, has 12 digits and looks like the following: DE-A23-98-10012. It consists of:
- 2-letter country code
- 3-character code of the registrant
- The last two digits of the year of publication
- 5-digit number identifying the publication Correct format for entering: DEA239810012
What format and quality do the pre-listenable streams have on INICAT?
The format is MP3 and the bit rate is 128kbps.
Is metadata automatically attached to my tracks when I upload them?
Unfortunately not. However, we will add all the information you have entered into your tracks. If, for example, your fans download your tracks and import them into iTunes, all information such as title, artist, album, cover, title number, date of publication, etc. are available and readable.
Some tracks have a 90-second pre-listening stream and others are completely pre-listenable. Why is that?
Collecting societies usually only allow works by the artists represented to be heard for a maximum of 90 seconds. If you do not cooperate with a collecting society, there is no limit and you can have your tracks streamed in full length.
Which collecting societies does INICAT cooperate with?
INICAT currently cooperates with GEMA for Germany and AKM for Austria.
FAQ Costs & Fees
What are the costs for me as a buyer / supporter?
As a buyer, you pay exactly the price that is listed. In addition, there are no costs for you because the transaction fees are paid by the artists.
What do artists have to pay to use the music store?
All sales proceeds go directly to your Mangopay account less the platform fee (8%) and transaction costs (https://www.mangopay.com/pricing/pricing-worldwide/).
If you are registered with a collecting society, we have to take an additional 10% (usually collecting societies charge us 10.25%, with a minimum of at least 10 cents per track). Collecting societies charge us, we charge you and in the end you should get the money back from your collecting society by the end of the year.
What are the costs for me as an artist for “Thank yous” and “Monthly Support” donations?
The platform fee of INICAT is always 8%.
Supporters should not have to pay an extra fee because they want to support you (transaction costs). That is why we have configured the system in such a way that 4% (as a general amount for transaction costs) of every “Thank you” or “Monthly Support” donation is paid by you. In sum, this means that 12% of your earnings will be subtracted for each “Thank you” and “Monthly Support” donation.
How is revenue generated from sales?
Paid amount by customer - platform fee (8%) - transaction costs of the respective service provider = your revenue
If your customer chooses to pay with a Visa card, 1.8% + 0.18 € will be subtracted.
If your customer purchases from different artists at the same time, the cost is calculated so that the platform fee (8%) and transaction costs (1.8%) are deducted for each product. The remaining 0.18 € (visa card fees) is divided by the number of sellers. To get an idea of your earnings, click on "Revenue" under "Newsfeed" and see who paid with which transaction service provider. Here is an overview of these transaction costs: https://www.mangopay.com/pricing/pricing-worldwide/
Why does INICAT charge an additional 10% fee when I am registered with a collecting society?
Collecting societies charge us fees at this rate for your music sales (usually collecting societies charge us 10.25%, with a minimum of at least 10 cents per track). Collecting societies charge us, we charge you and in the end you should get the money back from your collecting society by the end of the year.
What is the Inicat Session and when does it take place?
The Inicat Session is a concert with musicians who use INICAT. We organize the session and usually make a live recording of the performances. (Special thanks to our partner Indycine for providing us with the equipment free of charge.) Despite the free live recordings we make for each band, we are also try to offer them a share of the revenues from ticket sales. The "Inicat Session" currently takes place irregularly.
### Can I play at the next Inicat Session?
Sure, if you can convince us with your musical skills in the application phase :) Of course, you should have uploaded a few songs to INICAT and ideally some live recordings so that we can get a better picture of you and your music. You will be informed about the start of the application phase via e-mail if you have created an artist page (free of charge). Alternatively, you can also check under "Events" on the bottom of inicat.com.
How do I stay informed about INICAT events?
The easiest way is to subscribe to our newsletter. Alternatively, you can also check under "Events" or on our social media channels.