Meet the Sheffield music techology business expanding into India

Frank Wilkes, director of Kycker, said: “We’re excited about the huge opportunities that are opening up to us in India".Frank Wilkes, director of Kycker, said: “We’re excited about the huge opportunities that are opening up to us in India".
Frank Wilkes, director of Kycker, said: “We’re excited about the huge opportunities that are opening up to us in India".
A digital music publishing business in Sheffield expanding into India after receiving support from the India Growth Champions Scheme run by the Sheffield City Region.

Kycker is a company that helps musicians distribute their music to all major online stores.

The India Growth Champions Scheme, run in partnership with the UK India Business Council (UKIBC), led Kycker to setting its sights on India as an emerging market with lucrative opportunities.

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As part of the scheme, the business was able to take advantage of a market intelligence study, which enabled the company to better understand the digital music ecosystem in India.

The study researched musicians, music producers, independent labels, distributors and sound engineers in India and created a list of potential partners for Kycker.

The business has since carried out discussions with some of these partners, which has led to one major Indian music distribution company confirming their interest in a commercial licensing deal.

Frank Wilkes, director of Kycker, said: “We’re excited about the huge opportunities that are opening up to us in India – particularly with the opportunity to secure our first Indian licensing deal.

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"The market intelligence study gave us a great insight into the way the music industry works in India, the country’s legislation and industry competitors.

"We are looking forward to the Trade Mission to India in 2021, when we expect to hold a number of meetings with other partners.

"We see huge potential in India and South East Asia for our music distribution service.”

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region, said: “Kycker represents some of South Yorkshire’s greatest strengths – bringing together a powerful mix of innovation, technology, and culture. They show the huge potential for building not just a bigger, but a better economy in our region as we work to recover from Covid.

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"A key part of that ambition is connecting our economy with new investment and new markets around the world. We developed our India Growth Champions program to help companies break into a huge and increasingly important part of the global economy. It’s great to have Kycker be part of it.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, international advisor to Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “It is fantastic that a company that is bringing so much innovation to the music industry through technology is located here in Sheffield.

"It is great to see how the India Growth Champion Scheme has created opportunities already for Kycker to develop new licensing partners in India.

"It is now a very real possibility that Sheffield could become a music tech hub and it is companies like Kycker that are making this a reality.”

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Kycker has around 1,800 artists worldwide using its platform, including 100 in South Yorkshire. The data-driven application allows artists to upload their own audio and video content and earn royalties from their gigs, whilst putting them in front of all the major stores such as Apple Music and Spotify. The system is free for artists to use.

The business has plans to expand in 2021, by creating six new positions in South Yorkshire in web development and customer services.

Mr Wilkes said: “It is great to be able to create new jobs in the local area. We’re part of an emerging music tech hub here in Sheffield – which will hopefully attract other like-minded music businesses and musicians to relocate here.

"Just as the big rock bands like Def Leppard were attracted to the venues of Sheffield in the 70s, now we want music industry innovators and artists to be attracted here, because it’s where the latest technology is being developed and where they can really make a name for themselves.

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“We see extensive opportunities in South East Asia – including India, the Philippines and China. We have also established a number of artists in the Czech Republic and Russia who are making a great income from music being used in advertising and TV work.”

After graduating from Sheffield Hallam University in Computer Engineering, Mr Wilkes worked for Rolls Royce for a number of years.

While running music business development projects he met a web developer, and together they spotted a gap in the market for a new disruptive technology in the music business to enable artists to get in front of music streaming services, rather than having to wait to be recognised by large producers.

Mr Wilkes said: “The music industry has worked in the same way for a long time, whereas with Kycker, artists can now be in charge of their own destiny.

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"We give them as much support as we can with running a business and marketing themselves and their music, with a view to them being able to see music as a full time career.”

Kevin McCole, managing director at UKIBC, said: “We are happy to support Kycker in its India endeavours through the India Growth Champions Scheme, working with Sheffield City Region.

"It is great to see Kycker’s ongoing success to enter the India market, bringing fresh innovation to India. We look forward to continuing to offer our support, leading up to and beyond the GC Trade Mission later this year."


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James Mitchinson