As an indie filmmaker, I personally know how tough it is to acquire mainstream music for a project. It’s possible but definitely not easy or cheap. But help is on the way. There’s a quiet revolution underway. In the old days, you had to be a major Hollywood filmmaker, TV studio, or ad agency with a wad of cash to acquire rights to mainstream music. Now soundtrack possibilities for videographers, photographers, and independent cinematographers are expanding to include legally licensed, heavy-duty hits, thanks to a platform called Songfreedom.
With 39% of the world’s population 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. CEO Matt Thompson described the service: “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 first company to offer 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 the only place to get mainstream music for as little at $59.99 for one-time use.
Another result of Songfreedom’s egalitarian feat is more royalties for songwriters 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 productions. The result is “found money” for rightsholders, with pay-outs 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.”
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