Since starting in 2011, NCS (NoCopyrightSounds) have established themselves as major player in the electronic music game. NCS originally blew up for their monetizable music, allowing creators to freely use their music in many situations, linking NCS in the description, further growing their platform. Almost 10 years later and now a respected label releasing and curating music from some of the best artists in the world. With just under 9 billion views on their own channel and over a supposed 235 billion views of their music, mostly from other creators, NCS have established them selves as one of, if not the biggest music channel on YouTube.
Recently they’ve released their first artist album, Faceless from label regular Unknown Brain. The German duo’s album is an all-out, no holds barred celebration of vocal-led dance music that delivers smash after smash. Celebrating the release, we talk with some members of the NCS team to dive into the behind the scenes and learn more about how they’ve built the empire that is their imprint.
Was the idea of no copyright music a business or creative decision?
It was born more out of necessity than by business or a creative decision. Billy, the founder is an avid gamer and he was constantly looking for free music to use in his videos. He then started uploading the music he found to the YouTube channel. Later on, he met individuals that helped him morph the channel into the business that it is today.
In recent years do you think the rest of the music industry has adopted a similar approach to the use of content on certain platforms?
Perhaps not in the same way – We feel we’re unique in the sense that we allow content creators to use our music for free. We hit a recent milestone where NCS music has been used in over 100m videos online contributing to billions of UGC views.
What made Unknown Brain’s album be the first studio album you have released?
Unknown Brain have been releasing with us since 2015 and in that time we’ve developed an incredible working relationship with the boys and their team. Discussions started a while back about this project and for us, it was (and pardon the pun) a no brainer for them to be the first studio album for us to release.
What is your favourite track from the album?
They are all so different and unique and it’s really a credit to the boys for their immense musical and creative vocabulary. I think a personal highlight would be the track ‘Phenomenon’ as we were fortunate to have Dax on the record. He really took it to the next level.
Your subscriber count on YouTube is crazy, even bigger than some countries’ populations – how often do you try to comprehend that?
It truly is insane – we’re super grateful to see the growth we’re getting and all of the new fans from all over the world discovering NCS for the first time every day.
There are a number of artists who have been with you throughout the years, which stand out growth wise?
Unknown Brain have really grown massively and have built a great following while moving more into the pop music scene. Another one is Rival, who we’ve been working with for years that has repeatedly blown us all away with his production quality. Last but not least, Egzod has worked with us for quite some time and has really developed his brand and the quality of his music throughout the years.
What’s the A&R process for NCS, how do you find new artists – are they coming to you or you go to them?
We pride ourselves on listening to every single submission by any artist that reaches out to us.
We get upwards of 500-1k submissions every week from our existing family and new artists. We respond to every single one of these submissions. It’s an immensely important pillar of the business for us to be as accessible as possible to any and all of our artists.
Daniel J. Lee, the GM, aims for the business to be ’The biggest record label in the world, with the lowest bar of entry’. Meaning that we want to work with all kinds of artists in every stage of their career, that could even be the artist’s first track and we would still consider it. If the music feels right, then we can absolutely work together.
Did you see a bump in subscribers/views as the pandemic brought everyone inside?
We’ve definitely noticed a bump in subscribers, views and streams across our playlists. Before the pandemic hit we also re-established the NCS Livestream where fans can enjoy 24/7 music.
We also launched our new website https://ncs.io where fans can access all of our music. Over such a short space of time, we’ve hit over 300k subscribers.
What is next for NCS in terms of expansion?
We’ve recently expanded the NCS team from 3 full-time staff to 5 (plus around 15 regular freelancers) and are looking to continue that expansion as we grow the label and create other verticals of the NCS business. We’re also 9 years old, so let’s just say we’re thinking of something special for our 10th! 😉
We want to be the destination label for our established and emerging talent.
Listen through Unknown Brain’s impressive album Faceless below.