Post Magazine

August 2016

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Page 42 of 51 41 POST AUGUST 2016 SOUNDTRACKS here's a quiet revolution underway. It used to be that you had to be a major Hollywood fi lmmaker, TV stu- dio or ad agency with a wad of cash to acquire rights to mainstream music. Now soundtrack possibilities for videographers, photographers and independent cine- matographers are expanding to include legally-licensed, heavy-duty hits, thanks to a platform called Songfreedom (www. With 39 percent of the world's pop- ulation on the Internet and expecting quick, on-demand services, Songfreedom is the user-friendly solution for creatives who could never before access popular songs legally. According to CEO Matt Thompson, "We scoop up the rights to thousands of songs and make it possible for everyday people to use the music without any hassle, and it's all available with a single click online. Rights owners have been very gracious to try our little experiment, and it's paying off big-time for everyone." Songfreedom, born in 2010, surprised the music industry when it was the fi rst company to off er pre-cleared sync licenses from labels like UMG, Sony and WMG; and large publishers like UMPG, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, Kobalt, BMG, Disney, Downtown and Roundhill. Cleared for use are top-40 tracks by Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, One Republic, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Rob Thomas, American Authors, Marvin Gaye and many more. Also obtainable are songs by well-known indie artists like Ingrid Michaelson, Tyrone Wells and The Afters. No one else has been able to secure pre-cleared licenses from all of these rights-holding giants. Songfreedom is one of the few places to get mainstream music for as little at $59.99 for one-time use. Another result of Songfreedom's egal- itarian feat is more royalties for songwrit- ers and their co-owners. Industry insiders say major labels don't do pre-cleared deals, but Songfreedom proves them wrong. It smooths out the friction and helps a vast Web of music co-owners say "yes" to licensing for smaller-budget pro- ductions. The result is "found money" for rightsholders, with payouts of millions. "If you own or represent music that's not yet on Songfreedom with all of these icons," remarks Thompson, "you should really check into it." The "eureka moment" that led the CEO to found Songfreedom came when a buddy shooting a wedding tried to brave the unwieldy, expensive process of acquiring rights to use a song. He couldn't get a response from a record la- bel — not that he could have aff orded the licensing costs anyway. "Videographers' options were either to use really awful, royalty-free, 1980s keyboard music legal- ly or to use something that sounds good illegally," explains Thompson. "For every single usage, you had to get permission from every label, their artist, as well as every publisher and their writers (of which there could be several). Everyone had to agree if the money was right for the use. Instead, we negotiate a set of rights for a nominal fee, as long as the music is used for specifi ed purposes." Not surprisingly, Songfreedom's rapid growth has coincided with customers learning to use an exploding range of technological options. One in three weddings now uses a professional videographer. Choosing beloved music to complement the visuals adds emo- tional context and shows experiences in their best light. Fans want their favorite music in videos about life experiences like weddings, holidays, sporting events, church events, sweet 16 parties, and bar and bat mitzvahs. At the same time, TV networks, fi lm- makers and advertisers have jumped in with sync and music supervision requests. One decades-old company making both mega-hit records and blockbuster fi lms prefers to license their own songs for video content through Songfreedom, rather than deal with its own legal depart- ment. Songs licensed by Songfreedom can be found in ads for companies like Nike, Budweiser, Miller-Coors, Disney and Microsoft, to name a few. Creators of corporate training courses and podcasters have also joined Songfreedom's clientele. Songfreedom's curation by real humans and content from all over the world com- plement the company's goal for deliv- ering strong customer service. Playlists recommending tracks (by genre, mood, tempo, artist, instrumentation and more) make it easy for users at all profi ciency levels to plug in simple parameters and fi nd what they're looking for. Mainstream, indie and production music are presented as a straightforward digest of the massive content available. A user's only choices used to be to either tarnish the video and the brand by using disappointing music or to steal from other artists and risk being sued. Songfreedom's platform proves plenty are willing to do the right thing. SONGFREEDOM FLIES WITH NEW SOUNDTRACK PLATFORM AFFORDABLY BRINGING POPULAR MUSIC TO CONTENT CREATORS T We scoop up the rights to thousands of songs and make it possible for everyday people to use the music without any hassle, and it's all available with a single click online." — Matt Thompson

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