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– New service speeds up time spent on sourcing and licensing commercial tracks for digital productions –

1 November, 2012, London: CueSongs, the one-stop music licensing hub for online and digital media usage is today announcing it has concluded agreements with BMG Rights Management. The agreement will enable CueSongs to start offering selected catalogues from artists including Groove Armada and Ulrich Schnauss. CueSongs now has agreements in place with all the major music publishers for online licensing, including EMI Music Publishing, SonyATV, Universal Music Publishing and Warner Chappell, as well as major independents Imagem, Music Sales and Peer Music.

Additionally CueSongs is launching its new music-matching service called ‘Search, Match, License’, with three respected production companies already signed up for the service. Can Communicate Productions, M&C Saatchi & I Love Dust are all confirmed users of the new CueSongs music-matching service.

Ed Averdieck, CueSongs CEO comments: “With these agreements in place we are able to offer clients a comprehensive choice of music from both established and exciting new artists for their digital productions. Video production is going through the roof in this country as companies create promotional videos for their websites, for YouTube, and as part of viral campaigns. However, too often the music usage in videos is either unlicensed or of rather poor quality. Now, for the first time video producers no longer have to compromise on the music they use, and we are convinced this will give them a competitive edge by enabling them to make more impactful videos.”

To demonstrate the power of iconic music in communications, CueSongs is releasing its instructional video “Search, Match, License” with music from Groove Armada.

World-renowned artist Ulrich Schnauss comments: “CueSongs is creating new licensing opportunities and royalty streams for my music that would otherwise go un-collected”

Gavin Knight, Producer/Director of Yeo Valley’s new online films explains: “Using CueSongs was quick, hassle free and great value. I normally use libraries but the track that I licensed was a hidden gem and not expensive.”

David Wooster, Managing Director, CAN Communicate Ltd. says: “Choosing the right music is surprisingly difficult. CueSongs makes that process easier; they provide excellent advice and solutions to our music briefs at realistic prices, enhancing our offering to clients. The CueSongs website will make this process even easier”.

CueSongs, which launched in beta in January 2012, is co-founded by Ed Averdieck, formerly head of Nokia Music and OD2, and music pioneer Peter Gabriel.

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Cue Songs is the latest project from British music tech entrepreneur Ed Averdieck and legendary rocker Peter Gabriel.

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.

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Last week was a very interesting week in the UK’s music world. Madonna became the most successful solo artist ever in the UK album charts, just beating Elvis Presley’s record of 11 no 1 albums with her latest ‘MDNA’ and Will.I.Am cried on TV’s The Voice.

Will.I.Am’s performance as a judge on The Voice – and those tears, particularly – earns him many more British fans. He has come across as a funny, intelligent man with a clear ambition to beat all-comers even though he never quite made it big going solo. It’s hard to top the The Black Eyed Peas one of the biggest pop acts off all-time, but Fergie did reached number 3 in the UK singles charts in 2006 with her anthem ‘London Bridge.’

Which begs the question. How many successful bands have had two artists that made it big going solo?

Going Solo

I guess the first would have to be The Beatles – monster success on both sides of the Atlantic, followed by varying degrees of success as solo artists. Certainly, Paul McCartney’s longevity could only be dwarfed by the intense, incredible success of John Lennon in the 1970s. The single ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ was released just eight weeks before his murder in 1980 and although the ensuing album ‘Double Fantasy’ was less well-received, the single made it to number one in both the UK and US charts. George Harrison’s legacy is as much in the co-founding of HandMade Films (Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 127 Hours), while Ringo Starr will always be best-loved by a certain generation as the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

Sting and Stewart Copeland

My favourite pair is definitely Sting and Stewart Copeland. Although the former has undoubtedly had more popular success going solo (and his ‘Dream of the Blue Turtles’ is definitely coming onto my desert island), Copeland is a musicians’ musician. Named as the fifth greatest drummer of all time in 2010 by readers of Rolling Stone magazine, he may be American, but we still love him over here in the UK. The precise, energetic drum lines he produced on all The Police albums are extraordinary. It says a lot that he has two forthcoming dates in July at Ronnie Scott’s, that haven of jazz where only the best get to set up their kit.

Like it or not, Genesis saw the birth of both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Gabriel has made his name in recent years as a fierce campaigner for human rights, but both men have had success going solo, with Collins’ record sales exceeding those of Genesis.

For every band that’s had musicians leave to great (or greater) solo acclaim – Michael Jackson from The Jackson Five, George Michael from Wham!, Robbie Williams from Take That, Donny from The Osmonds, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, Paul Weller from The Jam – there are those, like Queen, The Rolling Stones and ABBA whose greatest success comes with togetherness.

And then, of course, there’s the big question, the elephant in the room. Are we defining success in purely financial terms? Does it have to be measured in record sales? What about some ‘higher’ artistic criteria? Some of the artists who have left popular bands while going solo ‘disappeared’ and are doing what they love. Which is why those ‘Where are they now’ features are always interesting to read.