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Maybe you’ve been storing your pitching tracks in Dropbox or Box, and want a better experience for prospective clients and co-writers – one that includes song lyrics, licensing information, and fast .wav playback. Or, perhaps you are looking to produce music consistently and utilize a partner to license it for you. You might even have a production music catalog you’re willing to part with entirely, and are looking for potential buyers, but don’t know where to start.
Songtradr, “the marketplace for music rights – a platform for music creators, owners and buyers,” is here to solve those problems. I spent some time chatting with Paul Wiltshire, an Australian songwriter, record producer, and mixer, as well as the company’s founder, about how Songtradr can be a valuable tool for independent musicians’ careers.
What’s the Songtradr elevator pitch?▼ Article continues below ▼
It’s a free content management system (CMS) that’s plugged into a marketplace for monetizing music rights.
Can anyone sign up, and what’s needed to get started?
Yes, we want everyone’s music. You do not have to be a member of a PRO, but we highly recommend it; alternatively, you can elect us as your administrator.
We deal in quality for placements, so we prefer 24-bit/44.1k, 16-bit/44.1k at a minimum. For files, obviously full versions, but also instrumentals, additional files, alternative mixes, including stems. You can be published or not, and you can load songs that are co-owned on splits; we will take care of making sure they are notified.
What costs and fees are involved with Songtradr?
First, it is free to sign up and free to store an unlimited amount of files and music. Concerning fees, we receive 17.5% of the Master and Sync agreement. We feel in a world where that fee is often 50/50, it’s important that we are very motivated to perform. We wanted to be compatible with large catalog licensing, where margins are thin and give a great value to any rights holder, including independents.
Can I pitch the songs from my Songtradr catalog directly, like I do other storage sites?
Yes; and we have a couple of cool things that improve the experience. We’re really proud of our sophisticated player with super-quick audio playback, and embedded song info (C/P owners, PRO etc.) for display, depending on what you want to share. You can also create playlists of your own tracks and share that link with anyone, whether a member of Songtradr, or not.
Song storage is needed, but licensing opportunities seem hard to find. Does Songtradr actively pitch to license?
We do, and we have an aggressive sales team that curates, pitches, and places music. Our team is made up of ad creatives, music supervisors, and other music professionals. A big part of what we’re doing is curation. Our team is constantly listening to content on the platform and building playlists geared toward discovery, making it easier for potential buyers to find what they need, quickly.
We both know that metadata is so important; how does Songtradr handle this?
It’s built in. Each track uses tagging, keywords, genres, sub-genres, reference artists, and more. We also allow for multiple writers, publishers, and owners. Once you enter all of the ownership details, the system asks for a contact for the other parties, and we send them notification seeking consent. Once all of the rights holders have consented, the track will be in the available in the marketplace and future licenses will automatically pay out the splits.
I love the variable pricing tool – what data is being using to set market rates?
We have direct numbers from clearance supervisors with recent market rates in many categories, all within a massive matrix. We’ve created an intuitive and quick way to set realistic pricing, by using a slider to set price ranges based on the kind of track, to match with the correct buyer instantly, or just set to “offers” only. It’s up to you. You can rename these presets and setup multiple catalogs – one set for premium, one set for sales, etc. Maybe you have a catalog of “B” songs, priced aggressively – you can set those transactions to happen automatically.
Are Syncs still an area where independents can compete?
Absolutely. There’s always going to be the competition of price. But the world is a very large place, and we are trying to solve “access” to those opportunities. Major shows or placements are always difficult. We’re exploring as many verticals as possible, with the goal of active, multiple income streams and possible blanket licenses. We want musicians to concentrate on producing more music. Songtradr is built to help musicians make a living from music, and we’re just getting started.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.