Most people are familiar with all the convoluted rights challenges around owning music they’ve purchased, but the problem is only extrapolated for those producing music. Many freelance artists join collection societies like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Teosto. These organizations were created for keeping track of licensing, collecting and distributing income from the performance and the duplication of compositions. It makes sense for music creators so they can better monetize their works. But when new innovations like Audiodraft come around, it has added a some friction to getting their audio crowdsourcing platform to be a tool of choice for professionals.
Collection societies exist to give musicians a central organization that will take care of their rights. For example, if a composition is broadcast on TV or radio, the songwriter of that composition is entitled to public performance royalties from the broadcaster. The organizations that collect license fees from broadcasters and distribute these funds back to songwriters in the form of public performance royalties are called performance rights organizations.
Most of the jingles and tunes you hear on TV and the radio are created by professionals that belong to these collection societies, but Audiodraft’s terms of service made it difficult for collection society members to participate in Audiodraft’s competitions, which normally are for jingles and background music.
“We receive on daily bases messages from artists that are members of some copyright society and would like to submit their content to Audiodraft,” Teemu Yli-Hollo, CEO of Audiodraft tells us.
Responding to that, now Audiodraft has positioned its terms of service to allow more big name artists and top tier producers to participate to the productions on Audiodraft, which is great news for their customers. Audiodraft’s value proposition is to provide access to the widest reach of talent, so excluding themselves from the most professional musicians was an obvious obstacle to overcome.
Luckily, U.S. public performance organizations only manage the public performance rights of the songs that their members/affiliates register. But Finland’s public performance organization, Teosto, has their member agreement cover all of its members’ productions, with a few exceptions, like game music. To allow more flexibility on Audiodraft’s home turf, the startup has made an agreement with Teosto so its members are exempt can participate in the Audiodraft contests.
“This is an important step for Audiodraft and also long waited change for our community,” says Yli-Hollo.
The first contest to take advantage of these new rights opportunities is AVA TV, a Finnish national TV channel with a focus on women’s interests. The company is searching for a complete audio identity, including an audio logo, theme music, and sound elements that can be used for other situations.
The prize for the AVA competition is $10,000, which should still turn the heads of the TV jingle professionals, even if they are suspicious of new models. Creative competitions add more uncertainty to the risk-return relationship for musicians, and professionals may try to avoid competing in competitions to work with other clients to secure more traditional bids.
But crowdsourced competitions generally provide greater value and flexibility to organizations that require creative content –compared to locking themselves down with one artist who may not be able to meet the organization’s needs. With more and more amateurs about to create professional audio from their 3 year old PC’s, the market is looking better and better for game producers, TV channels, and others who require unique and personalized audio. And it looks like Audiodraft will be there to bring these groups together.