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SESAC Offers Micro-Licensing Opportunities for Affiliates Through Subsidiary Rumblefish

Q&A with Rumblefish CEO Paul Anthony Troiano

In 2014, SESAC announced that it acquired Rumblefish, a strategic move that continues SESAC’s commitment to offer a broad array of services to its affiliates and remaining at the forefront of technological evolutions in the industry. Rumblefish is a leading music technology provider and a market leader in music micro-licensing, YouTube monetization and license verification. 

We caught up with Rumblefish founder and CEO Paul Anthony Troiano to help SESAC affiliates and partners learn more about what Rumblefish does and how the acquisition will benefit songwriters and publishers affiliated with SESAC both monetarily and with data on a real-time basis.

What is your relationship with SESAC?
SESAC has acquired a controlling interest in Rumblefish, whose goals and corporate mission align well with those of SESAC. This acquisition allows SESAC to grow as a company, offering more services to our affiliates and continuing to be at the forefront of technology. We pride ourselves on the ability to evolve as the landscape does, identifying new ways to meet the developing needs of music users, distributors, licensees, songwriters, composers and music publishers, as well as recording artists and labels.

What is Rumblefish and what kind of services do you offer?
Rumblefish licenses music for online video, paying artists royalties for the use of their music. For example, let’s say you have a friend who shoots a video on his phone or on a GoPro camera and uploads it to an app that helps edit the video. Then he adds a music track, and shares it on his favorite social network like YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo. What we do is help songwriters or their publishers monetize the use of that song that your friend used on his video. It's a new and exciting revenue stream for artists that is experiencing tremendous growth. 

What exactly is micro-licensing?
Micro-licensing is the process of marrying the makers of online video creators with music through a process that enables the music creator to be paid for its use, while providing the music user with permission (license) to use the song. Micro-licensing is capturing millions of dollars in revenue that previously went untapped due to the lack of a vehicle to capture the license fees for online video makers utilizing music.

How does it differ from traditional sync licensing, and what's the potential market size for micro-licensing?
With traditional sync licensing, you sell licenses for many thousands of dollars to larger broadcast productions. With music micro-licensing, you sell a much higher volume of licenses at a lower price point. We sell licenses for one to two dollars for noncommercial uses, and anywhere from $25 to $125 for limited commercial usage. For example, think of wedding videographers or small local businesses that are making ads to only air on YouTube. These licenses might even go for $500-$1000 on services we work with like Shutterstock. Micro-licensing exists because there is much more video content being created now that video production is more affordable, from GoPro cameras to iPhones and Android phones, and even small, boutique ad agencies working with local businesses. They all need music.

We've licensed over 75 million online video soundtracks. We’re licensing up to 100,000 songs per day. That's the scope of the music micro-licensing market. The potential is hundreds of millions of dollars. Our aim is to capture as much of that as we can for our songwriters and publishers and that includes SESAC affiliates.

What is RADKey?
Is an innovation in micro-licensing that lets video creators use licensed music in their videos and easily monetize that video or block ads, all while fairly compensating artists. RADKey enables YouTube to ‘read’ complex music licenses, making it easy for anyone to use licensed music in a YouTube video. RADKeys are entered into existing fields on YouTube by the video creator when they upload their video. The keys are also integrated into Audible Magic, who provides digital fingerprint content recognition technology that enables fast and accurate identification of music in video networks such as Facebook, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Twitch and others.

Who are some of Rumblefish’s clients?

This year, we announced that we will provide licensable music through Shutterstock, a publicly traded company with over $250 million in revenue. The company is known for licensing images and video footage and we are powering the entire Shutterstock Music experience. We also provide music to Tango, one of the fastest growing new messaging apps. With more than 200 million registered users and 80 million daily active users, Tango allows users to create and share videos with their friends all over the world. One of our longstanding clients is Animoto, an app with 8 million users who create several hundred thousand videos every month, using music tracks from Rumblefish. Animoto’s users include photographers, small businesses, and even families who are making YouTube ads. We also are providing music offerings for video editing apps like Socialcam and JumpCam, online video-editors like WeVideo, immersive, cardio-workout video provider Virtual Active, and many others.

What are some examples of artists whose careers have been significantly impacted by their micro-license work with Rumblefish?
We work with an indie power-pop musician by the name of Josh Collum in our catalog (his band is Secrets in Stereo). A few years back, Josh started getting quarterly checks from us in the tens of thousands of dollars. He did some analysis of his own into the causes and he found that there were two main sources: one was that Animoto users were using a song of his called “Happy” for thousands of slide show videos; the other was that fans heard some of his songs on TV and started making lyric videos of his songs and uploading them to YouTube. And it gets weirder! Someone created a YouTube video displaying the names of the songs used in the film Twilight. They used a song from the film, but the record label issued a takedown. So the user changed the song out for one of Collum’s and he gets compensated off of the millions of views of that video. Josh has earned over $200,000 from micro-licensing alone.

Another example is Dhruva Aliman, who has earned as much as $13,000 in a single quarter from micro-licensing with us. Dhruva is an electronic musician who has fully embraced online video as a platform for making the most of his music. He creates his own mash-up videos of wildlife interacting with people, wingsuit flying, magic tricks, cliff diving, and security video footage; and he also encourages fans to use his music in their own videos.

How will SESAC’s current affiliated songwriters, composers, and publishers benefit from the Rumblefish partnership?
Like SESAC, we have a technology-forward business, adding another layer of benefits for SESAC affiliates. Rumblefish represents recording and compositions across multiple license rights worldwide. The pie is getting bigger, because we're licensing not just compositions in one license type, but compositions in all license types and recordings in all license areas. SESAC’s integration of Rumblefish’s services creates more opportunities for SESAC affiliates to further maximize the value of their copyrights.

How will SESAC’s acquisition of Rumblefish impact affiliates careers going forward?

SESAC’s acquisition adds value for SESAC affiliates. Right now, SESAC songwriter and publisher affiliates may be required to negotiate deals with countless parties across numerous segments of the industry. There is a wide range of music, performance rights, sync and digital distribution. SESAC’s vision, through the Rumblefish acquisition, is to streamline and simplify the process so SESAC affiliates can maximize their catalogs across global markets of varying, sizes and types, from a single point of value. 

SESAC is firmly positioned as a company that best maximizes music compositions. Together, we're going to dig into exploiting as many rights as possible for affiliates, so that you get the maximum benefit of the value of your compositions.

For SESAC affiliates reading this, what should they do to take advantage of these new monetization opportunities?

SESAC affiliates need to sign up with Rumblefish separately to turn on our micro-licensing revenue opportunities. Since it is a different type of service than what SESAC already offers you, you are not automatically opted into the Rumblefish catalog being offered to our micro-licensing clients. Go here to see a few examples of industry leaders that use music from the Rumblefish catalog. To learn more about being a part of that catalog, go here.

 
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