Closures of venues and cancelations of (major & independent) festivals due to event bans and social distancing measures around the world are causing serious financial hardship for artists and musicians.
With their live revenue stream obliterated by COVID-19, artists need all the help they can get to make ends meet over the coming months – and some independent music businesses are doing what they can to help their communities during this unprecedented period with benevolent acts.
One of those businesses is Los Angeles-based Songtradr, which has been sacrificing its usual sync licensing fees, passing them directly to artists instead – and will do so for a full month.
Songtradr specializes in licensing fully-cleared music for sync to a range of blue-chip clients including the likes of Disney, Netflix, Apple, Coca-Cola, Amazon and Columbia Pictures.
But Songtradr, whose database contains over 450,000 artists, songwriters and catalogs, also offers digital distribution to independent artists (as well as other services), placing their music on a range of platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Now, in another example of going the extra mile for indie acts during the age of COVID-19, Songtradr is offering artists free, unlimited uploads until September 30 – with 100% of distribution royalties (and full control of rights) being kept by these musicians.
After September 30, 2020, artists can choose to become a paid Songtradr subscriber for $19 per year (with unlimited releases and 100% royalties) or to remain a free user, for which Songtradr will charge a 10% transaction fee – applied after an artist earns from a release.
“This moment in time provides a unique opportunity to be part of a global consciousness shift,” he adds. “To participate in a world that gives unconditionally, and supports one another so that we can arrive at a better destination on the other side of this.”
Paul Wiltshire, Songtradr
Commenting on Songtradr’s decision to offer this free service, founder and CEO Paul Wiltshire tells MBW that “artists are the life-blood of our industry and they have been impacted dramatically, so it’s crucial to support them right now”.
“This moment in time provides a unique opportunity to be part of a global consciousness shift,” he adds, “to participate in a world that gives unconditionally, and supports one another so that we can arrive at a better destination on the other side of this.”
Songtradr raised $4m in a Series A funding round in 2018 and $12m in a Series B funding round last year. 2019 also saw the company acquire creative music licensing agency Big Sync Music in a multi-million dollar cash and equity deal.
Here Songtradr’s Paul Wiltshire tells MBW why the company is so committed to helping artists right now and what advice he would give creators during this challenging time…
Songtradr’s decision to offer free music distribution for the next six months follows last month’s announcement that 100% of Songtradr licensing fees will be received by artists through April 18 – tell us about the thinking behind the new announcement and why Songtradr is so committed to supporting artists and musicians with these initiatives during this challenging time?
We are in unprecedented times and an artist’s ability to make their usual living from live performance has completely disappeared.
The impact on their lives is inconceivable and now more than ever, they need the support of their families, friends, and community. We’ve been doing what we can, but we need to do more.
Artists are the life-blood of our industry and they have been impacted dramatically so it’s crucial to support them right now.
This moment in time provides a unique opportunity to be part of a global consciousness shift; to participate in a world that gives unconditionally, and supports one another so that we can arrive at a better destination on the other side of this.
What’s the most important bit of advice that you would like to share with artists at this time?
We all need to remain positive even in the face of crisis. Amazing, wonderful things happen all the time, even during a time like this when it’s easy to descend. As emotional beings, we can channel these emotions into creativity and focus our energies on positive actions.
Should artists continue to release music during the coronavirus crisis?
It is critically important for artists to ensure they are doing everything they can to monetize their music.
Income from streaming can grow substantially over time and we don’t know how long live performance activities will be compromised.
Artists should ensure they are collecting all available royalty streams (e.g. performance, mechanical, YouTube Content ID, etc.), and have their music available for sync and other licensing revenues.
“Channeling fear, anxiety, hope, and connection into a song is an opportunity to seize. Such levels of inspiration are often sparked from immense change or upheaval and may come only once in a lifetime.”
It is also the perfect time to create. Many artists will be experiencing significantly heightened emotions, which often provide fertile seed for inspiration.
Channeling fear, anxiety, hope, and connection into a song is an opportunity to seize. Such levels of inspiration are often sparked from immense change or upheaval and may come only once in a lifetime.
What are your hopes for the artist community over the next six months to a year?
I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we want a rapid return to normalcy as soon as possible. On the other side of this lies a new reality, one where we are inevitably bonded through this life-altering time.
Never before has our generation shared such a profound experience and I hope this provides a much-needed connection in society from both macro/micro perspectives.
“Never before has our generation shared such a profound experience and I hope this provides a much-needed connection in society from both macro/micro perspectives.”
For artists anywhere, using their gift to create, inspire and lead through their craft can bring hope and healing to the world. Significant moments in history have always inspired great music.
Most of all, I hope to see more of our industry rally together to support artists in need at this time. Support can materialize in many forms, including direct financial support, charitable initiatives, speeding up payments or simply choosing to license from an independent artist if you’re a regular licensee of music, such as a music supervisor or editor. YouTube channels can choose to complement their content with independent music and everyone reading this can help by binge-listening to independent artists on their chosen music streaming platform! It all helps. There is so much great talent worthy of our attention and all of us have the capacity to support in some way. All you need is an internet connection.
Songtradr’s responsibility is to also continue to develop technology, tools, and connectivity that feed, empower and inspire artists and we hope our efforts continue to impact the growth of artist independence in a world that is wiser and closer.Music Business Worldwide