Category: Brands

25 Apr 2018

VNUE Acquires Soundstr

VNUE, Inc. Closes Deal To Acquire Soundstr

Deal Accelerates Company’s Push Into Creating Fair, Transparent Public Performance Licensing For Both Venues And Bands

NEWS PROVIDED BY

VNUE, Inc. 

Apr 25, 2018, 09:00 ET

 

NEW YORKApril 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — VNUE, Inc. (OTCQB: VNUE), the global leader in recording live events and releasing experiential content to fans, has officially closed its deal to acquire Soundstr, a technology that aims to help businesses pay fairer music license fees based on actual music usage.

The merger of VNUE’s patent-pending MiC™ (Music Identification Center) system and Soundstr’s own patent-pending music identification technology and hardware aims to fix the current performing rights system. Currently, venues and other businesses are somewhat discouraged from playing music due to high blanket license fees charged by the Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), in which the PROs have no idea what’s actually being played – meaning that in many cases, the correct rights holders are not properly compensated.

Instead of paying these high blanket royalty rates, music licensees utilizing the Soundstr/MiC technology would only pay for music played in their establishments, and the appropriate rights holders would then be properly and transparently compensated. VNUE will also leverage the licensing infrastructure around its “instant live” recording technology to streamline the process for these types of rights clearances.

“While the introduction of the Music Modernization Act is very encouraging in some areas of licensing reform, it does not begin to address the problems of General Licensing, and since it’s another blanket licensing system, it could merely continue to perpetuate the inequities we see in performance licensing into mechanicals. With Soundstr, we have an incredible opportunity to fix this system that’s been broken for more than 50 years, and there’s a potential for $3 billionor more in royalties for general licensing that could be more fairly allocated to artists and songwriters,” said VNUE CEO Zach Bair. “Since we announced our intent to acquire Soundstr in February, it was exciting to see Spotify (SPOT) follow our lead into music rights with their acquisition of Loudr. It is very clear that this is an important move for the future.”

Soundstr was founded by Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger (previously of platinum-selling rock band Hawthorne Heights).

“Our goal with Soundstr is to make real-world music use as transparent as possible so songwriters can receive what they are properly due, while helping licensees pay the fees that are aligned with their music use,” said Bucciarelli-Tieger. “VNUE is the perfect partner to help Soundstr move forward with those goals, and we are excited to be pushing forward.”

For more information on VNUE, please visit http://www.vnue.com/.

About VNUE, Inc.  (www.vnue.com)
VNUE, Inc., (OTC: VNUE) is dedicated to further monetizing the live music experience for artists, labels, writers, and publishers, with products such as its set.fm platform, exclusive license partner and “instant live” pioneer DiscLive, and Soundstr, which helps businesses pay fairer music license fees based on actual music usage. The veteran entrepreneurs, artists and songwriters behind VNUE are passionate about the future of their industry and ensuring that rights holders’ value is not lost amid always-changing technology. VNUE’s team has produced live content and created experiential products for over 15 years for artists and companies including Father John Misty, The Pixies, Blondie, EMI, Capitol Records, and more.

SOURCE VNUE, Inc.

Related Links

http://www.vnue.com

01 Dec 2016

Soundstr Raises $1.1M Seed Round

Music Tech Startup Soundstr Closes $1.1M in Seed Financing

Soundstr’s New Music Identification Technology to Benefit Both Venue Owners & Songwriters

(Cincinnati OH – November 29, 2016)

Soundstr, a music technology startup aiming to bring fairness to real-world music usage, has closed a $1.1 million round of seed financing.  CincyTech led the round with participation from entertainment data and technology company Gracenote, Accelerant and angel investors.

Soundstr’s patent-pending technology offers tracking data to the manner in which venues and businesses pay for the use of music, and songwriters receive royalties.  Music is protected by copyright law, and most businesses and venues that play music are required to pay for a license.  Under the established model, many businesses pay performing rights organizations (PROs) for catalogues of music, even if they use only a fraction.   Soundstr’s technology connects to a venue’s audio system, uses Gracenote’s best-in-class Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) to identify every song played, and creates a record of actual music usage.

“Soundstr’s data can lead to more efficient music licenses,” said Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger, CEO of Soundstr.  “Paying for actual music usage could lower license fees a business pays to some Performing Rights Organizations, leading to more businesses paying for licenses. Both scenarios lead to more songwriters receiving compensation for use of their music, which is at the core of our mission.”

Hundreds of thousands of businesses are subject to the license requirement but some ignore it at the risk of lawsuits and costly fines.

“Disruption is an overused term, but in this case, it truly fits.  We cannot imagine many areas more ready for disruption than this,” said Doug Groh, director at CincyTech.  “We saw that the current methods of determining music licensing fees and royalty payments were both grossly unfair and highly inefficient.  Eron showed a deep understanding of all of the players involved: artists, venues, music publishers, and fans— and their motivations.”

Bucciarelli-Tieger’s knowledge stems from years in the music industry, as a founding member of the platinum-selling band Hawthorne Heights.  He founded Soundstr to help more accurately distribute royalties to songwriters whose music is played in establishments.

Soundstr is currently conducting pilots in several music venues and also with the Canadian Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers (SOCAN).

“SOCAN is investing significant resources towards a new world of music consumption and rights management. The identification of the music used in real world businesses, and the related data is crucial to our success,” said Jeff King, COO of SOCAN.  “In our pilot tests, Soundstr’s technology is showing promise and potential.  Between the ease of use and accuracy, we see tremendous opportunity to bring more transparency and clarity to the industry.”

Soundstr is taking pre-orders for an January 2017 launch. Sign-up at the following links:

Soundstr Raises $1.1M Seed Round Soundstr Raises $1.1M Seed Round

Inquiries: info@soundstr.com

13 Jul 2016
5 Things Songwriters Need to Know About the Consent Decree

5 Things Songwriters Need to Know About the Consent Decree

What is the Consent Decree, and why are people talking (and so upset!) about it?

While the music industry can seem glamorous, it does have its “unsexy” parts just like any other business sector. For songwriters, one of the least discussed (yet most important topics) is music licensing. But major changes to the consent decree – the federal agreement that governs how ASCAP and BMI operate – is bringing this topic to the surface.

The truth is, these changes could be the biggest in the music industry in 75 years and greatly impact your career.

So while this might seem like a complex topic now, we’re here to break it down for you. First off, if you are not familiar with Performing Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and GMR, “PROs”), read this now. If you are familiar with the PROs and what they do, keep reading. The Consent Decree decisions will impact songwriters, licensors and more. Pretty much everyone in our industry, to a certain degree.

 

1. Consent Decree History

ASCAP and BMI, both of who are non-profit companies, (voluntarily) entered into Consent Decrees with the Department of Justice in 1941. The goal of the agreements was to prevent these two companies from acting monopolistic and regulate how they operate. SESAC and GMR, which are for-profit, are not bound by this agreement. (For a full history of the PROs, click here.) The Department of Justice reviews (and sometimes amends) the Consent Decree every few years to adapt to a changing industry and technology. The proposed updates would be one of the biggest changes to the consent decrees since it was first filed over 75 years ago. (The last changes to the consent decrees were in 1994 for BMI and 2001 for ASCAP.)

 

2. Decision #1: No Partial Withdraw

There are two major decisions proposed by the Department of Justice for the Consent Decree. The first is no partial withdraw. This means that publishers either have to be “all-in” or “all-out” with PROs. Music publishers, with the assistance of the PROs have been asking the DOJ to update the Consent Decrees to allow for partial withdraw. Publishers want the ability to do direct license deals with music licensors for performing rights. In this case, they want to do direct license deals with Digital Services Providers (DSPs) such as Spotify, Pandora, etc. On December 18, 2013, a federal judge ruled that this was not allowed in a case with Pandora and BMI. (A different judge had a similar ruling with Pandora and ASCAP on September 17, 2013.) Yet, shortly thereafter, the publishers went direct to the (digital) source to negotiate better rates, cutting out the PROs as the middleman. This left the PROs to collect on behalf of radio, TV and broadcast/live performances – not digital. The DOJ chose not to update the Consent Decrees to allow for partial withdraw. This means publishers either have to use the PROs to collect on behalf of all mediums, including digital or none at all. If publishers want better rates with Spotify and Pandora, they will also need direct deals in all other mediums. This includes every radio station, TV network, retail store, and live music venue. Publishers would have more work on the admin/collection side, but it might lead to a higher payout for them and their associated songwriters.

 

3. Decision #2: 100% Licensing

The second major decision is called, “100% licensing.” This gives a songwriter with any ownership on a song, even as little as 1%, the right to license the entire song on behalf of all other songwriters. Further, that same song can only be licensed once to a given music licensor. Anyone from the lead songwriter down to the producer that gets a few songwriting credits could license the song. Considering that many co-writers do not share the same PRO, this could lead to several messy scenarios. This is a stark departure from the “fractional” licensing model that the industry currently uses. Fractional licensing means PROs only license their share of a song. In a fractional licensing world, the songwriter (or PRO) with 1% ownership is only able to license their portion. In a 100% Licensing world, when ASCAP licenses a music venue, but only controls 1% of a song, that venue no longer needs to also obtain a license from BMI for that same song. ASCAP must license the full 100% of the song and account back to BMI.

 

4. Short Term Impact

The immediate responses to these proposed changes have not been positive. The CEOs of both ASCAP and BMI have responded, stating their “disappointment” in the DoJ. Other music industry execs have shared this sentiment. The consensus around the short-term impact focuses on the negativity of these rulings. With rate shopping, 100% licensing could devalue the price of music. Licensors will likely be on the hunt for the lowest rate, which could drive down revenues. No partial withdrawal could lead to publishers opting out of the PRO system. Instead of a business needing four PRO licenses, they may now need those four, plus licenses from each of the many publishers.

 

5. Long Term Implications

There are a few implications to consider from these major changes. For better or worse, 100% licensing could lead to a “fixed rate” for music within our industry. This is a long shot, but a fixed rate could help build value (or further devalue) the price of music depending on your perspective. 100% licensing could also place heavy restrictions on the co-writing market. Songwriters may only be able to work with co-writers within their PRO or publisher’s roster. This could lead to a lack of hit songs or more diversity, depending on where you (subjectively) stand. If you’re not already aware, most pop songs have several co-writers, as showcased by popular memes.

 

The biggest potential change could be from the “No Partial Withdraw” ruling. The most contributions against this ruling have come from the PROs, as they should fear this shift. If the DSPs are willing to offer publishers better rates through direct deals or publishers think they can license these services more efficiently by eliminating PRO services fees, this might lead to the end of the current PRO model. With ASCAP and BMI‘s expenses totaling $260M+ in 2015, this money could flow back into the system. This would require the publishers to have direct deals with all radio, TV, background and live music users. It might sound like a stretch, but consider how it could work. Music users would utilize recognition technology to identify all commercial music. A global marketplace could work as an exchange to license and distribute royalties. One organization offering transparency behind rate structures could solve many problems. Businesses would pay fees based on actual music usage. Songwriters could receive compensation for the commercial use of their music. Transparency would allow the industry to fully “Follow The Dollar.”

 

It might sound like a stretch, and again it’s all speculation for now. So much more is likely to happen in the coming months. The PROs and Publishers must respond to the DOJ by the end of July. Lawsuits will likely ensue. Decisions will be delayed as everyone lawyers up and weighs their options. Extremes like ASCAP and BMI merging may actually be considered, despite antitrust lawsuits. The Consent Decrees may even be done away with. Publishers may withdraw from PROs. No one ultimately knows.

 

Regardless of the final ruling on the Consent Decree, we now live in a world where music data is essential. Data impacts everything from songwriting/publishing splits to PRO registration and real world music usage. More overall transparency will be necessary to follow the dollar and understand the true value of music. Songwriters need to pay close attention to this case, as the outcome could have a great affect on their career.

Songwriters – click below to sign up for FREE music recognition services.

5 Things Songwriters Need to Know About the Consent Decree

06 Jul 2016
5 Futuristic Ways Your Brand Can Sponsor Events

5 FUTURISTIC WAYS YOUR BRAND CAN SPONSOR EVENTS

In today’s digital age, you may have to do more than hang a banner to captivate audiences at an event.

Smartphones and social media are killing our attention spans. In a study conducted by Microsoft between 2000 and 2015, our ability to focus has dropped from 15 seconds down to a pitiful 8 seconds. Eight seconds is one less than that of a goldfish. So your carnival pet might be able to win at a staring contest.

There is a simple equation that needs mentioning. When it comes to conversion rates, engagement > visibility.

Consumers are smart and don’t want a brand selling to them. Visibility and name recognition only go so far. Banners, backdrops and signage aren’t stimulating. Advertising should include a call to action from the consumer, but only if the cause of action is enticing enough for them to want or need.

Creating demand with an offer or experience is the name of the game. But the presentation and effort required plays an important role in the user uptake. A great offer with an uninteresting method of connecting the user with the experience can leave a campaign dead in the water. Technology also replaces yesterday’s human touch through efficiency. No more filling out registrations or sign-up sheets required, which minimizes time and effort.

Below are 5 unique ways to advertise at live music events. Each example is efficient, user-friendly and often drive high levels of engagement.

 

1. Text Campaigns

Short-code text campaigns are great. Texting a unique word to a short number (often 5-6 digits) will return a confirmation code or discount to the user. Text campaigns gained popularity in the late 2000’s on the television show “American Idol.” They have become a familiar tool to consumers of all demographics. For advertisers, this medium collects a list of phone numbers that you can add to auto text campaigns. Having this direct pipeline to the consumer is invaluable as social media evolves and audiences shift to the newest, coolest platform.

 

2. In-Venue Broadcast Ads

Broadcasting advertisements in venues is a new way to drive engagement. Fans hear radio-style ads over the sound system during set changeovers, and before/after concerts. This time is often dedicated to playing house music, so it’s a great time to present an event sponsor. In-venue ads are cheaper than radio or cinema advertising. They also focus on engagement over visibility, which often leads to a higher conversion rate. These ads require a device for playback and verification, but more venues are utilizing this technology.

 

3. Beacon Technology

This is the fine line in the sand where the costs and opportunity increase. Beacon technology, known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), interacts with consumers’ smartphones. If someone has an app on their phone and walks within range of a Beacon, they could receive an automatic push notification. (Note: The phone’s Bluetooth needs to be active and the audience needs to have the app using the Beacon.) In other words, there is no action required by the user to get the notification. Businesses that have apps can easily incorporate beacons into ad campaigns. No worries if your business does not have an app, as you have options. App building software and developers have become cheaper and more accessible in recent years. Advertisers also have the option of using popular third-party apps for beacon-enable campaigns. These include artist, venue, or reward apps, among others. After you have identified your destination app, align with a medium that offers beacon marketing and the rest is easy.

 

4. RFID Chips

RFID (radio frequency identification) has become more popular at events, especially music festivals. Through the use of RFID chips and readers, attendees can have a seamless concert experience. RFID allows for checking in and out of access points, push notifications (via app), and even make purchases. PromoWest Productions just introduced RFID technology the Bunbury Music Festival music festival in Cincinnati in June 2016. This led to several improvements from past festivals. By using RFID over cash/credit, all point-of-sale transactions happened via wristband scan. Attendees could load cards at pre-designated “Top Off” stations or through the festival’s app. Fast-paced lines and meant less time missing performances and happy attendees. With this tech making its way into more spaces like marathons, RFID may become cheaper and more accessible over time.

 

5. Augmented & Virtual Reality

Augmented and virtual reality may sound like the future, but in some cases are already available. These sponsorships and activations need third-party technology for broadcasting and viewing. But there are some cost effective workarounds, like 3D technology. Using a 3D projector, audiences can view imagery broadcast with basic 3D glasses. This can be an inexpensive way to display unique visuals at any live event. On the reverse, there are also scenarios that might cost a pretty penny. If you plan on projecting an image of Tupac, you will pay for everything from equipment to license fees. As more advertisers and marketers enter the space, the supply and demand will make this area less expensive.

 

It’s hard to believe that these advertising methods are already available. A brand’s ability to interact with the consumer is better than ever, and who knows what the future will hold. As with any new technology, brands that adopt early have the opportunity to capitalize and set trends. The only question is, will you be ahead of the curve?

Interested in learning more about how your brand can explore these advertising opportunities? Click below for a FREE consultation.

5 Futuristic Ways Your Brand Can Sponsor Events

15 Jun 2016

5 REASONS WHY YOUR BRAND NEEDS MUSIC FOR MARKETING

Why doesn’t your business use music in your marketing?

There are a lot of myths surrounding this concept. Do you think it costs too much? Are you not sure if your customers would appreciate it? Or are you just not familiar enough with how you could use music within your marketing?

The simple truth is that music is easier to use commercially than you might think.

Music has become such a big part of our lives, with the average person listening to music 4 hours each day. Music also evokes emotional responses in listeners, which is absolutely utilized in advertising. HP used a Meghan Trainor song around a tablet advertisement, and the campaign generated a 26% increase in just 12-weeks. Now how about that bass?

If you’re not already convinced, see below for 5 reasons why your business should use music in your marketing efforts.

 

1. Visibility – New Fans

One of the main reasons to use music in your marketing is visibility. Solo artists and bands have fans of their own, and those fans are consumers.  From small social campaigns to lifelong endorsements, marketing with music will increase your visibility.

 

2. Engagement/Loyalty

Music fans are loyal. From downloading music to attending live events and purchasing merchandise, fans are always consuming. They also exhibit high levels of engagement, especially on social media. Have you ever compared your social media traction to that of an artist with a similar-sized following? The difference is staggering, showcasing a reason in itself to use music in marketing.

 

3. Cost Effective

Yes, advertising with music will cost you something, as nothing in life is free. But what you might not consider is how scalable this cost can be, along with your options. If you want to align with an artist that’s sold millions of albums, it might cost you millions. But, local and regional artists – many of whom will become larger, successful artists – are a great alternative. Local artists on the rise have high levels of engagement and loyalty because their audience is a mix of fans and friends. Plus, the cost of aligning your brand with a local artist is much more affordable than you think. In Cincinnati, MusicLi helps businesses use local music for marketing, with song licensing starting at just a few hundred dollars.

 

4. Unique Use

Music in marketing can be a unique way to drive attention to your business or a specific good/service. Pairing your business with an appropriate artist can help drive interest in what you offer. Does your business sell sustainable goods or merchandise like a local Whole Foods? Many artists, from folk to indie and hip-hop, are teaching their audience about sustainability. Now imagine you are trying to market a new locally-sourced energy bar or water bottle. Why not pair with a local eco-conscious artist to offer to drive sales? This could be a free download of their new single with each sale, or a marketing video with using their song. This is just a simple example, but it could be effective in driving visibility and sales.

 

5. Leads to New Opportunities

The music industry is big, and growing by the day. Social media has removed almost all barriers to entry, allowing anyone to become a successful artist. This process, which used to take years of development, can happen almost overnight. This can work in a businesses favor as well. Imagine having an energy drink that uses a local hard rock artist’s music in your marketing video. Say the band shoots their own music video, and they choose to drink your product in the video. Then the video goes viral. You may decide to further your relationship with the band and sponsor which states they drink your product on stage at shows. Now their song has become a hit on the radio, and they go on a world tour. Your visibility from sponsoring the band could help grow your business into a worldwide empire. It might sound unrealistic, but it might be more probable than you think.

 

There are plenty of reasons why your business should consider using music in your marketing. Increased visibility from a highly engaged audience of consumers is the mecca of advertising. Using local and regional artists is a great alternative to expensive national artist campaigns. Working with emerging artists can also lead to new and exciting opportunities to grow with musicians. So the only question is – what are you waiting for?

Click below for a FREE consultation to learn how to incorporate music into your marketing.

5 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs Music for Marketing

01 Jun 2016
5 Futuristic Ways to Sponsor Events

5 REASONS WHY YOUR BRAND SHOULD SPONSOR EVENTS

Why doesn’t your business sponsor live music events?

Have you ever tried to sponsor an event? Do you have a hard time finding an opportunity that connects you to your ideal customers? Do you think it costs too much? Or are you just not familiar enough with how event sponsorship works?

With changes to recent industry and consumer trends, it might be time to seize the opportunity.

 

1. Highly Engaged Consumers – That Actually Consume

Concert goers are serious consumers. Audiences pay for admission, possibly a few drinks, and even merch from the performing musicians. As Digital Music News pointed out, in 2015 over half of all spending on music went to live events. Social media engagement is an entire different point of consideration. Ticketfly found that 31% of 18-34 year old concert goers spend more than half the time on their phone at events. This does not even account for the pre- and post-concert activity that is still tied to the concert.

 

2. Fans like Brands

Live events are experiences for music fans. They are loyal to artists, food and alcohol companies, and even music venues. They also appreciate the right pairing of brands with live events. A study shows that 44% of concert goers have positive feelings towards sponsored brands. 40% said they were more likely to purchase sponsored brands. eMarketer discovered music fans rank higher in both areas compared fans of sports, TV and award shows. Statista reports that LiveNation, the world’s largest concert promoter, hosted over 25,000 events in 2015 alone. That’s an 11.9% increase from 2014. With events ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of attendees, imagine what that traction could mean for your brand.

 

3. Growing Industry

Brand spending to sponsors events is a growing industry. Sponsorship.com found that in 2014, music sponsorship spending totaled $1.43 billion dollars, a 4.4% increase from 2013. There is a direct correlation between the increases from audience and brand spending and the number of live events. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of this growing industry?

 

4. Cost Effectiveness & Commitment Level

Sponsoring live events might be more affordable than you think. The days of spending thousands of dollars just to get your banner hung in a venue are over. Commitment levels for sponsorships are much less than that of other mediums such as TV and radio. Ad campaigns with these formats often run for several weeks or months, and focus on visibility and repetition.  While these features might be helpful to some businesses, in-venue advertising focuses on engagement. Direct consumer engagement leads to conversions, and ultimately to sales. Considering that most events happen in independent businesses and venues, event sponsorship is a largely untapped market.

 

5. New Technology

Technology is quickly becoming the key to successful event sponsorship. Imagine an advertisement from your brand being broadcast over the sound system between acts at an event. Upon hearing that ad all audience members would receive a push notification with your coupon or offer. Technology allows brands to directly connect with audiences with minimal to no action from the consumer. It might sound futuristic, but these advertising opportunities are already available to brands.

 

The world of event sponsorship has gone through dramatic changes in recent years. Consumers are spending more, and brands and events are cashing in. Concert goers are highly engaged audiences, and actually welcome the right sponsors at events. The costs and commitment levels are lower than other traditional advertising methods. New technology is helping brands connect with consumers like never before. There has never been a better time to sponsor an event, and the opportunity to position your brand might be closer than you think.

Click below for a FREE consultation on how your brand can sponsors live events.

5 Reasons Why Your Brand Should Sponsor Events