iLicenseMusic - subscription music licensing - our newest Magnatune business
Please Blog, Link to and Like us, if you want to support this idea. We could use the Googlejuice!
We're also at facebook.com/iLicenseMusic.
-> We've been licensing music like mad for 10 years...
At Magnatune, we've licensed our music to over 5000 projects, of which almost 3500 were indie films! Two of these films have won "best film music" awards. I'm really proud of this, and part of what made this possible was being way out ahead of everyone else with what was (for many, many years) a one-of-a-kind model. Our success helped inspire the CCPlus license at Creative Commons as well has 3 copy-cat businesses.
10 years ago, there was no online music licensing : I grafted the stock photo licensing idea from Getty Images onto the music business. There had been one famous attempt by Gerd Leonhard (who is now a good friend, and who tried the idea with his licensemusic.com), that crashed and burned rather spectacularly.
Magnatune's licensing model has been to sell each different use of our music separately, so people only pay for the rights they need. Ask a musician for all rights, forever vs 30 seconds in a film for a festival and you'll get a very different idea of what the price should be. For many years, this unbundling worked well, and it got rid of the dreaded "music lawyers crafting a custom agreement" which has killed music licensing revenue for so many labels (well, the lawyers liked that arrangement).
But... in recent years we've found that almost all videos go on the Internet, and they also go global. The notions of restricting media types and distribution territories no longer make any sense.
Film festival organizers have been asking for complete clearance of the music, for all uses forever, in order to simply submit a film for consideration at a festival. Our unbundled approach no longer works.
In recent years I've also provided music to the same film makers year after year, as they're a very committed bunch, and keep making movies one after another.
Finally, and unexpectedly, I always thought that Magnatune would be a money-losing idea, and that the real profit would be working with businesses. Much to my (happy) surprise, Magnatune as a consumer business has done just fine. We're just about to work on a total rewrite of Magnatune, and a good part of that is having it only be a consumer-music-service, and not do double duty as a business-to-business service.
These thoughts and more were going through my mind, as I came up with the idea for ...
--> The new idea
So... what if we were to change Magnatune's music licensing approach to encourage repeat customers to stick with us, to use more of our music (and of course, less music from the competition), by having a low-cost subscription service? They pay a monthly fee, and all their music problems go away.
Magnatune and its musicians win, since we get a dependable income stream.
Film makers win by lowering their music costs, not having to negotiate, and having all the rights cleared so there aren't any troubles later on.
So... that's how iLicenseMusic works -- for $89 per month, a film maker (or anyone else who needs a music license) can use our music in their projects and products, and there are no other fees. They can cancel at any time: after which they can't use our music in new projects or products. Seems fair, no?
Nobody else is trying this business model with music licensing. I thought it'd be interesting to be the first, and to see how it works out. Our old way of doing things worked great for many years, but now it's time for something new.
As of this week, all music licensing goes to either:
1) iLicenseMusic: film, video, internet, games, presentations, etc...
2) MoodMixes: background music for restaurants, stores, offices, etc...
I'll let you know how it all works out!
Posted by John Buckman on September 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Permalink
I hate to be a complainer, especially since I LOVE Magnatune and have tried to get as many folks as I know to join up too, but it makes me sad to see that I will no longer be able to use Magnatune music in not-for-profit video projects like the ones I've been putting on YouTube. Up until now, I've been following the Creative Commons practice outlined on this site by including song title, artist and Magnatune's URL in the credits. I gather from what I've just read that I will no longer be allowed to do that? The freedom to have quality LEGAL music in my not-for-profits video projects was a deciding factor in my signing up for lifetime membership. I appreciate that you have the right to "change the rules", but it does not ease the disappointment.
But I'm willing to give you benefit of the doubt and maybe I've misunderstood. Just two weeks ago I had to send YouTube a link to your CC license page and verify to them that I was a member. It made me right proud that they were satisfied with my claim that I wasn't violating any copyright laws and allowed me to keep my account.
If I'm wrong, please tell me so. Seems i could do with some good news this week.
Posted by: Spike Page at Sep 13, 2012 7:28:37 PM
Wow. :) Disregard my previous comment/complaint/concern. I had only been to the [LICENSE] link from your album page, which does not quite explain everything. After checking the License link in the main page header, I read at the bottom that CC license for nonprofit projects still applies.
:) :) :)
One of those rare times when I'm very happy to have been wrong :)
Posted by: Spike Page at Sep 13, 2012 7:41:05 PM
What's missing is a search box! I want to search for an artist or say "indian" but now I've to swarm through 100s of names
Posted by: Kumar at Sep 13, 2012 11:18:16 PM
re: Spike Page and the unchanged Creative Commons use policy
I'm glad you figured it out! On every album page, on the bottom left, you'll see a "creative commons" logo. Click that, and you'll see that we continue to support noncommercial use of our music. You can read our (unchanged) policy here: http://magnatune.com/info/cc_licensed
re: Kumar and the missing search bar
There is a search box on the "music" page, just click on "search" in the left hand column, which brings you to this page: http://ilicensemusic.com/music?browse=Search -- and btw a search for "indian" brings up some decent results: http://ilicensemusic.com/music?search=indian
Posted by: John from Magnatune at Sep 15, 2012 6:41:40 PM
In the process of signing up with Magnatune. They seem to have a very forward thinking business model for independent artists. I am looking forward to being part of the label community, and the additional exposure that could bring for my music. I think iLicenseMusic.com could be a great source of revenue, for Magnatune, and their artists.
Posted by: Peter Crossland at Sep 27, 2012 11:38:28 AM
I am a high school media arts teacher and I've had my students use Magnatunes for their projects (this was easier when you could license for non-profit and download for free). What I'm wondering now is if I can take out a subscription for the school and have students use that for their work using the CC license.
Posted by: Forman Howes at Oct 3, 2012 10:16:52 AM
What I'm wondering now is if I can take out a subscription for the school and have students use that for their work using the CC license.
Yes, the noncommercial (creative commons) license for members of Magnatune is still a key benefit for being a Magnatune member.
You can see our policy on this by clicking the creative commons logo which is on the bottom left of every music page, and which leads to this policy page:
Posted by: John from Magnatune at Oct 4, 2012 9:30:21 AM
How are the musicians paid in this arrangement? Also, how does this differ from a blanket license? If the music is used in film or TV, will the musician receive backend from his or her PRO?
Posted by: Tim at Oct 6, 2012 10:51:40 AM
Tim, as a Magnatune musician you should have received an email from me explaining this, but in case it was spamtrapped by your email program, I'll reproduce what I wrote in that email to my musicians:
1) a customer pays us $89 per month to have access to our web site
2) they click "license" on a song they want to use.
3) every month, 50% of that $89 goes to the musicians they licensed
4) most customers will probably only use a few songs now and then
5) if you're the only song they license, you get paid half their $1068 fee, every year, until/if they cancel. If two songs are licensed, the two of you split the fee (and etc...)
As to the PRO question: yes, you would continue to receive royalties from film/tv via your PRO (ie, ASCAP/BMI) as film theaters and tv channels separately pay fees to collecting societies and you would get your cut of that when the movie/tv show was aired with your music.
Posted by: John from Magnatune at Oct 7, 2012 8:45:23 PM
Thanks for the response. The message did indeed fail to make it through for some reason. I just changed my email to one that I hope will be less troublesome. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Number 5 is an interesting concept, and, as a Magnatune musician, very appealing. I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out.
Posted by: Tim at Oct 8, 2012 9:43:27 AM