A New Way for Musicians to Make Money on YouTube

From Business Week:

Scott Schreer is an indie musician, but not the garage-band variety. The composer licenses his 1,700 musical works, designed as scenic background music, to film and TV producers. Less gratifyingly, he can also hear them used, without permission, in thousands of videos on YouTube. Hunting those stray recordings and trying to collect licensing fees from the video-sharing Google subsidiary didn’t seem worth the trouble. Then Schreer started using Audiam.

Audiam’s program combs YouTube for videos that feature unlicensed music, using audio-matching software and YouTube’s own ContentID system. If there are advertisements running on the videos that include its clients’ songs, New York-based Audiam claims a share of the ad revenue; if there aren’t any ads attached, Audiam authorizes YouTube to add some. Either way, the startup passes along ad revenue to the artist, minus its 25 percent cut. Founder Jeff Price, a friend of Schreer’s, pitches musicians like this: “Let’s go find you money that already exists. It’s buried treasure.”

Although big record companies and music publishers have deals with YouTube to collect rights fees when their songs show up in videos, lesser-known artists and composers don’t, and Price wants Audiam to be their middleman. (Artists can sign up for free, in exchange for song uploads and YouTube licensing rights.) Price’s six-employee startup has attracted about 700 musicians since its mid-June launch, and Schreer is an ideal test case: A May Audiam search for just one of his 1,700 songs, a two-minute, saxophone-heavy acid-jazz instrumental called Love Doctor, revealed 100,000 video plays using the song without paying for it over a period of 11 days. That search netted Schreer $120 in licensing fees from YouTube, he says. He’s collecting about $30,000 a month overall from his music catalog.

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