Meet Audiosocket // Music Licensing for Indie Bands and Content Producers
By Natalie Jacobs
Every surf video you’ve ever seen has music in it. Do you ever wonder how a filmmaker has permission to use that music?
If you’re a content producer who hopes to sell your videos, or at least not have them removed from YouTube, then it’s necessary to gain the proper permissions for any music you wish to use. We’re familiar with the wonderful world of music licensing here at Korduroy because we face the issue every time we produce a new show.
We’re lucky to have some friends in cool bands, so all it takes is a quick signature on a license contract that explains exactly what we intend to do with the music we’re getting permission to use and we’re good to post the video anywhere we like, and, better yet, pitch it for sponsorship. Where independent producers get in trouble is when the agreement is of the gentleman sort (that is, without anything written down).
Having brands involved also complicates the system, because that makes the video fall into a different legal category known broadly as “commercial use.” If someone is using music with a Creative Commons license, for example, that takes them out of the running for brand sponsorship because the license strictly forbids it.
There’s a lot that goes into making a film (short or otherwise), and since music seems so accessible on the internet, it’s easy to forget that it’s not yours to take. Even if you have every intention of paying for the right to use the song of your choice, it is difficult to know how to go about that. Major labels won’t return your call unless your voice sounds like it’s oozing with cash, and independent bands are not exactly equipped to respond to every inquiry. This is where Audiosocket, an online music licensing company with offices in Seattle, New Orleans, LA and New York, is a valuable resource.
They have a database of about 50,000 songs (from 1,500 artists). They provide sync licensing—the license type necessary for when a song is synchronized to a video—to everyone from independent producers to mega brands, television series and major motion pictures.
“Bands will sign an agreement with us,” says Cary LoGrande, director of licensing for film and business, “and the understanding is we are going to help market them, get the word out, sometimes we will promote a tour that they are doing. But most of what we are doing is giving them opportunities to get licensed for film and tv, and more so now it’s for web.”
He says there isn’t really another company that is making this so easy for web content creators. Once you sign up for an account, you have access to the full database which is searchable by genre, mood, tempos, vocals, themes and instruments. From there, you can listen to the songs and create playlists to track preferences and share them across your production team. You pay as you license.
The price structure varies by the type of content, on a sliding scale based on intended use and expected impressions. The cheapest licenses are those that are used for content that will only go up on a company or personal website with no brand involvement and 10,000-50,000 expected impressions (if your video goes viral or impressions increase above the limit, you can retroactively increase the license).
Audiosocket works hard to make sure they have the right balance of quality and quantity of the music they license. They have an A&R department that sifts through music submissions each day, and sometimes they’ll scout people on their own. Once signed on, bands get 50 percent of the take on each license, which could represent a significant amount of supplemental income if producers consistently like what they hear.
For the action sports genre, LoGrande says electronica, indie dance rock, dubstep (surprisingly), singer/songwriter and electro-orchestral-hybrid (whatever that means) are being licensed a lot right now.
Since we thought Audiosocket was providing a service that we and our community (that’s you) could benefit from, we’re launching an interesting partnership with them. They’re giving us this promo code: KORDUROY.TV to give to you, to use for 10% off of your license purchases. When you use our code, we get 10% to use for our own licensing. We think it’s a pretty sweet deal, since we’ve got some shows in the pipeline that could use some license-ready tracks and we’re sure you do too. It’s free to create an account and browse the database, just don’t forget to enter KORDUROY.TV when you’re at checkout. And be sure to send along those videos when they’re ready for primetime!