Cue Songs is revolutionizing music licensing by providing pre-cleared online rights to music and recordings from signed and independent artists.
The music tech start-up which is currently in beta has already landed international partnerships with Sony Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Cooking Vinyl and Kudos Records. Here is an interview I had earlier this week co-Founder Ed Averdieck.
Do you have an idea of how much revenue the music industry is losing due to the lack of digital licenses?
There are varying estimates of the size of this. Some commentators say that it could be as big again as the existing synch licensing business – ca $800 million per year globally. It’s a huge new opportunity and that’s why we are doing a market pilot in the UK over the next year to get a much better yardstick on how big it actually is.
As advertising continues to grow online, do you think the RIAA and other forces will crack down own websites using music without licenses?
For sure, there is a gravitational pull for advertising budgets going on line and so the industry needs to encourage solutions for enabling websites to license in a cost effective and straightforward way. I think most businesses and websites would be prepared to pay a reasonable amount of money if licensing is made a lot easier. iTunes proved that in the download market against free download pirate sites like Kazaa and early Napster. So I think the first job for the music industry is to invest in and support a range of client friendly licensing alternatives
How would a smaller website benefit from a service like CueSongs?
Even the smallest website-owners will be able to use music in their web and digital marketing productions from some of the most credible and accomplished artists. CueSongs is offering a “one stop” licensing solution for anyone to find well-known music recordings and immediately purchase the right to use them in digital media, e.g. on their website, on Facebook, YouTube, in apps, online advertising.
We are also creating a small business rate for businesses with less than 10 employees who can license tracks for as little as £100 for use on their website.
I read CueSongs offers a suggestion tool called “Mood Board,” which helps companies select the right songs. Can you explain how that works?
We want to make it as easy as possible for clients to find the best track that suits whatever production they are doing.
• For our website users, you can search via tag clouds of genre, mood, style, decade of release or geo-location to find tracks that are suitable for your purpose. Our website has a playful way of suggesting a reference track and then enabling users to find other tracks that sound like the reference track
• We also have a team of in-house music experts who you can speak to and explain what you are looking for and they will put together a mood board shortlist of tracks.
• We also have team of award winning composers at hand for companies looking for a bespoke soundtrack that is completely unique.
How is CueSongs able to offer speed up the licensing process and offer licenses at a much more affordable rate than a traditional service?
We only focus on licensing commercial tracks from signed artists and songwriters. Licensing commercial tracks requires approval from the songwriter, the performer and their rights-holder representatives. The usages that we offer are focused on the rapidly growing online video and event usages where the budgets tend to be smaller and so it’s more difficult for both rights-holders and clients to deal direct with each other.
CueSongs has done the work of pre-clearing the licensing with each of the rights-holders upfront and that means that we are able to offer a one-stop license to our clients and an instantaneous transaction. Clients can see upfront what they have to pay for a track and can license a track within 5 minutes on line. So even the smallest website-owners will be able to use music in their web and digital marketing productions from some of the most credible and accomplished artists.
How actively involved with Cue Songs is Peter Gabriel?
Peter Gabriel and his music company Real World co-founded the business with me, and Peter is one of the principle investors. Peter was one the original investors in OD2, the music download company that he also co-founded in 2000, where I was part of the management team and so the connections go back to then. The original idea for the CueSongs came from when I was working at Real World overseeing the music division and we saw that there was a gap in the market that someone was going to fill and we decided to go for it.