Patrick Hill is the executive director and founder of Disctopia, a streaming service dedicated to indie artists, podcasters and content creators.

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
msaylesafro.com

Patrick Hill is a self-professed hip-hop head, so when his friend asked him to burn CDs for his new mixtape, Hill figured he could do him one better. 

He quickly designed a website to host the tracks and added a PayPal link so his friend could sell his tape to listeners directly. Once it was ready, his friend tweeted the website’s link, and he earned $500 in just one hour. 

This experience led Hill to consider the state of the music industry for independent (indie) artists, or those that produce their music without support from a record label. At the time, he realized that the prominent platforms for indie musicians, like Soundcloud and Bandcamp, didn’t allow artists to charge listeners. 

He wanted to design a platform where creators could direct the distribution of their music, and he wanted them to be compensated fairly. 

Hill created Disctopia to serve as a streaming platform dedicated to delivering indie content from creatives to fans globally. Artists can use Disctopia’s website to become a member and upload their content, while fans can use the Disctopia app to access more than 4 million podcast shows and music from 10,000 indie musicians. 

In the ensuing weeks, Disctopia users will also have access to over 20,000 audiobooks, and as the platform steadily expands, Hill plans to add movies and television series to Disctopia. 

According to Hill, Black production companies have been on the rise in recent years. Comedian Kevin Hart recently merged his TV and film production companies to create Hartbeat, and actress Issa Rae formed multi-faceted media company HOORAE to break boundaries in storytelling and representation. 

Disctopia allows all creators to create direct-to-fan offerings, like exclusive content and merchandise, and pays them 2 cents per play.

“The light is now on them, but that’s also breeding a new generation of young Black creators,” said Hill. “We want to be there for them because these other streaming platforms have some level of gatekeeping.” 

Creatives that host their content on Disctopia can set their own prices, and they receive 100 percent of the sale when fans choose to download. The platform also pays podcasters and musicians 2 cents per play, which is the second-highest rate in the industry.  

With Disctopia, Hill also wants to teach indie artists about different methods to market their music and podcasts. His team has intentionally written over 300 articles that cover topics like starting a record label, the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and using TikTok for promotional efforts.  

“We’re a streaming platform. We’re here to stay, and we’re not just a podcast hosting company  [or] a music company,” said Hill. “We’re going to be a full-fledged platform.”

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