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Tadcast Reverses Music Licensing Process for Online Producers

Two-year-old product placement startup Tadcast, which has connected brands like Colgate with top YouTubers (s GOOG) like Ryan Higa and Mystery Guitar Man, wants to work with a new type of brand: musicians. A new section of Tadcast will soon be available for musicians hoping to see their songs used by video producers.

There are plenty of music-licensing sites for low-budget producers out there, but here’s Tadcast’s twist: Musicians working with Tadcast will pay YouTubers for using their music, either per click-through or per view. This is a pretty big reversal on traditional music licensing practices, in which producers pay artists for the rights to use their songs, but Tadcast’s belief is that a band hoping to get its songs out there will value the promotional opportunity.

How Tadcast Helps Video Producers! from Tadcast on Vimeo.

While the musician program is currently in alpha, Greg Benson (MediocreFilms on YouTube) has already created a few test videos under the program, including last September’s Chat Roulette Rock Band, which currently has 51,715 views. The video’s description includes a prominent link to the band’s iTunes (s aapl) page.

There are currently 91 paying songs available right now, and when that number increases to around 200, Tadcast will encourage alpha users to begin using it, including many of the top YouTubers that Tadcast has worked with in the past. According to Tadcast VP Jeremy Parker, the program will soon be open to any producer looking for free music to use for a video, no matter what kind of view counts he or she gets.

According to the FAQ for musicians, the benefits of using Tadcast are:

If you believe in your music, you want people to hear it. If people hear it, they’ll probably become your fan, right? Bands need to do more than play shows and hope people will discover them. Tadcast allows your music to be heard by potentially millions of people who otherwise would have never had the pleasure of hearing your music. A potential fan will hear your song in a video, see a pop up that tells them who they’re listening to, and will allow them to click on a link to learn more or purchase your song. What more can you ask for from advertising?

Musicians are able to put restrictions on the kind of videos that use their music, such as asking for their tunes not to be used on videos with strong language or extreme political content. While the more a video is seen, the more musicians may pay producers, there are safeguards in place to make sure the bank isn’t broken; specifically, musicians have the ability to cap the payments they’re willing to make on a video from $0 to $250. The FAQ for musicians strongly discourages them from setting the amount at $0, though, stating that:

We want anybody to sign up even if they don’t have the money for this kind of advertising. However, we should warn you that producers will probably shy away from your music and not choose it since other musicians are willing to compensate them. But if you’re a famous artist or you want to take the chance, I guess you could go ahead and choose to pay $0.00 per view.

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8 Responses to “Tadcast Reverses Music Licensing Process for Online Producers”

  1. I agree with Druu. This is setting a bad precedent. If TV and Film were to start charging money for song placements it would be the end of most musicians’ ability to make a living. Please try to remember that for some of us musicians, this is our actual job. If we’re not fairly compensated for our work, we can’t pay the bills. It’s that simple.

  2. Yeah…we’re coming from different points of view on this one, Mike.

    The majority of YouTube producers may not be paying for music right now, but it’s easy to see that the online video landscape has been changing to address the legal rights of copyright holders. Micro-licenses for use of music in user generated content is a growing revenue stream in the music business. That may not be very apparent on YouTube yet, but it probably will before too long. That game is definitely not over yet.

    Plus, if musicians open the door to the acceptability of paying for placements in YouTube videos, then it won’t be long before that idea spreads to other forms of media. That’s what I mean about this being bad for musicians in the long term.

  3. Mike Owen

    Again Druu

    I see where you are coming from, but the fact is that youtube producers will never pay for music. So the musicians are not losing out on a revenue stream because they were never making money to begin with. I know tons of musicians and I have never heard any of them talk about getting paid my a youtube producer, it just doesn’t happen.

    Yes if a musician was savvy and had the time and energy and knowhow to contact every youtube producer and say you can use my siong for free and please include a link in the description box of where they can download it, how many of these youtubers that actually have an audience would agree. I would bet very few if any. Tadcast makes the process straightforward and simple and allows musiicans a way to easily get in front of these top youtubers while making sure tht they use your music in the correct way and they give credit to your song.

    Druu- I think on this one we will have to agree to disagree. But thats what I love about innovation right

  4. Mike,

    It’s an inventive idea, but to say that it’s all positive with no risk to musicians misses the whole point that collecting license fees for the use of their music is one of the only revenue streams musicians can rely on to make a living. That’s what makes music placement different from product placement.

    Tadcast comes from the product placement world, where it makes sense to pay for placements in order to push product sales. But music doesn’t work the same way. Most musicians and bands don’t make the bulk of their income selling CD’s or mp3 downloads. They rely on income from live gigs, merchandising and license fees. So by changing the landscape so that musicians stop collecting license fees and instead pay for music placement, one of the only reliable ways musicians can make a buck is either undermined or eliminated.

    Besides, if a musician is willing to have his/her music used by a YouTube video producer for free in return for credit and a website link, all they have to do is reach out to YouTube video producers. There’s no need to pay per click, so why pay a middleman and in the process undermine one of the only ways they can generate income in the career they’re trying to succeed in?

    This might look good on the surface, but it’s a bad deal in the long run for musicians.

  5. Mike Owen

    Again Druu,

    I have to disagree with you. If you are an artists and you are willing to pay for advertising, which many musicians are and you go on to Facebook and post an ad (thousands of musicians are doing this every day) and you create a campaign for 500 dollars and you pay 10 cents a click. What does that get you — it gets you 5000 people knowing bout your site. These people have never heard your music, but they are attracted to the banner for some reason. Most of the time this doesn’t lead to real sales because most of the time these people don’t become fans — since they actually never heard the music before they click on the link.

    What the Tadcast model does — is that same user creates a campain for 500 dollars and selects to pay 10 cents a click — which equals a minimum of 5000 clicks to the musicians website. The difference is, all the people going to the bands site have actually heard the music and like it enough to leave the page they are on and learn more about the musician. whats seems to be even better is that once ther 500 dollar budget runs out — there msuic is still in the video getting massive amounts of hits.

    The musician is only paying for what they get. If they create a campaign for 250 and youtube producer doesn’t selects the music, then the musician doesn’t owe anything. If the song is selected and the video gets 500 views and only 2 people click on the link — the musician owes 20 cents (if their paying ten centsb a click). If the video gets 100,000 views and the link only gets clicked once, the artists only has to ay 10 cents.

    There is no risk for musicians it is all positive – there getting what they are paying for and plus many manymany more views.

    This may not lead to 250 sales instantly — although I would bet that the people who are going to their site will have a much better likely buying album then being directed from other ad platforms, but the fans might actually become reall fans.

    This may lead to them comoing to shows, buying merchandise, telling their friends, blogging about them and it might actually get these musicians music in front of the real influencers. I just can’t see the downside.

    I am a marketer myself, I love music but I am not a real musician – I play drums a little. As a mareketer and someone who knows and understands how hard it is for musicians to get exposure – best friends are active musicians pursuing carreers — I think this is a reolutionary idea that I really hope catches on.

  6. Hi, Mike!

    I see the similarities to a Facebook ad, but here’s where the math is all wrong in this idea. 99% or more of the time, musicians will not get adequate promotional value for their payment to have their song in the soundtrack to somebody else’s YouTube video.

    Here’s an example. I help run Bite Me TV, and music from my catalog is used in all of the soundtracks. So take one of our Field Trippin’ episodes that has 150,000+ views. Using Tadcast’s model, I would have paid up to $250 to have one song placed in that episode. So, have I seen $250 worth of measurable promo value from any of the 5 or so songs that are used in that soundtrack? Have I sold more CD’s or mp3 downloads? Nope.

    And that’s not just one isolated example. When I got started in music licensing, I thought placements would add up to plenty of promo value. It makes sense on paper, and it looks like that’s the assumption made by Tadcast and the musicians they’re trying to attract. But in reality, only a tiny percentage of music placements actually lead to the promo value musicians are looking for. I’ve had my music used in a variety of TV shows, video games, movies and earlier this year a McDonald’s commercial. Few, if any, of those placements have led to the kind of promo value that Tadcast is claiming that they can help musicians get for placing music in online videos. Can placement of an indie rock song in a major network “twenty-something” show be a promo coup? Yes. Can placement (that you have to pay for) of a song in some random online video be a promo coup? Very, very unlikely.

    Tadcast’s model doesn’t add up. Musicians just getting into the business might be attracted to their idea for a minute, but they’ll figure out that they’re dropping money in the toilet before long.

  7. Mike Owen

    Hi Druu,
    I understand what you are saying, but they are allowing musicians to promote themselves in online videos. Traditioanlly producers need to pay musicians in film, tv, commercials and video games, but for online viodeo, producers never pay. They don’t have the money and they are not going to waste the money they do have on music licensing. Thats why if you watch online videos they rarely use music and if they do, I can bet that its their friends music. Unless your a musician who is good friends with one of these youtube producers, you will never get this exposure.

    Think of this model as a facebook banner ad, just tadcast seems to be much more affective. Potential fans actually hear your music before they click on link and once i=your in the video, your in the video for ever (with facebook or other ad platforms once your budget runs out thats it)

    Maybe this model can help you get exposure and the industries that do pay for music — film, copmmercials, will pay you more, because the song is popular.

    Just my thought.

    Again, I hear were your coming from, but have to realize youtube producers will never pay for music — this seems like a great way to get heard

  8. Nope…this is all wrong. Musicians, songwriters and composers should be paid license fees to have their music included in video productions, not the other way around.

    It’s one thing to ask a band or musician to allow a song to be used for free (once or twice) in order to get some exposure, but having them pay for that exposure is ridiculous. Musicians need that income as it’s one of the only reliable revenue sources left to them. I’ve provided music for various television shows, video games, advertisements and films for years, and I can tell you that most of these “promotional opportunities” are overrated. We musicians expect to be paid by placement companies, not the other way around.

    Bite Me TV