Songtradr’s global expansion plans include Australia [exclusive]
The business has been growing at over 25% per quarter on average over the last few years and had a fresh injection of US$12 million in early 2019.
“I believe our consistent growth is the result of providing unique tech-enabled solutions and a much-needed platform for both music licensees and artists,” CEO and founder Paul Wiltshire said.
“Content creation continues to rapidly expand and needs music. The growing supply and creation of new music meet that demand.”
Songtradr’s core strategy is connecting artists, record labels and publishers to licensees from multiple verticals such as advertising, brands, film, TV, gaming, video streaming services and other media.
The idea was to expand artists’ revenues, while ensuring they maintain control of their rights, and are paid fairly.
Songtradr is the only open marketplace for music licensing in the world with scale, and currently has a community of over 500,000 artists, songwriters and catalogues.
In addition to the headquarters in Los Angeles, over 70 staffers are located in New York, London, Belfast, Stockholm, Paris, Hamburg and Singapore.
A Sydney office opened earlier this year under the management of music supervisor and producer Michael Szumowski, who will oversee both Big Sync Music (the global music agency Songtradr acquired in 2019) and Songtradr operations.
There are 3,500 Aussie artists already on the platform, and Wiltshire forecasts that figure will continue to rise.
“Australia is so close to our heart and we’d certainly like to see Songtradr making a positive impact there. It’s been predominantly organic growth so far and now we’re applying more local resources, we expect to open up a lot of opportunities for local artists.”
Paul and his co-founder wife, Victoria Wiltshire – Songtradr’s chief experience officer – grew up in Melbourne and made a name for themselves as songwriters and producers for names such as Vanessa Amorosi, Human Nature, Backstreet Boys, Delta Goodrem, Marcia Hines, Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll.
Global sales of their tracks between 2000 and 2010 were over 15 million and in 2013 they took a gamble by moving with their young children to Los Angeles.
A year later Songtradr was born and another local tech start-up found global success.
The timing was perfect. Technology allowed independent artists and songwriters to upload their music and access opportunities more than ever before.
Brands needed to reach their customers across the emerging channels of various new media increasing demand for music significantly.
Paul said demand was also heightened with the rise of “channels like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video” as well as the democratisation of independent filmmaking and broadcasting through YouTube and other user-generated content platforms.
As the market continued to evolve rapidly, Songtradr quickly aligned, expanding to distribution, and other forms of rights management.
“We receive billions of data points allowing us to leverage data to inform our licensing marketplace. Brands in particular see great value in aligning consumer audience demographics of the product they are advertising with the consumer audience of the music used in their campaign,” explained Paul.
Victoria emphasised that they wanted Songtradr to be a bringer of positive change to the industry and it was never just about being disruptive.
“We’re here to make things simpler for both sides of the market.”
“Disruption is something that can naturally happen when you’re innovating. We want to innovate intelligently while fostering a culture of ideation.”
“I’m not sure that being seen as disruptive is as important as successfully solving the needs of our users.”
“If disruptive means developing technologies that connect artists and songwriters to an effective global licensing marketplace, where they get paid fairly while maintaining control of their rights, then, ok, we want to be disruptive” Paul expanded. “But we do not disrupt with intent to destroy or devalue.
“Our culture is to work harmoniously with the music industry so we’re here to complement, partner and provide an efficient process to licensing in particular, which remains a largely manual and inefficient process.”
Using the right music to convey a brand’s values and public image is, of course, very important.
Among Songtradr’s more effective team-ups are the way Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ was used by Rexona for its campaign for people to keep physically fit during the coronavirus shutdown (managed by their Big Sync Music team), and US songwriting/production team, Foxxi’s ‘Born for This’ to convey the joy of escaping to freedom in a Toyota.
Marco Margna’s track ‘Eternity’ underlined soap brand Dove’s Wash To Care message.
Illinois rapper Skiddalz was delighted when Songtradr placed her track ‘Like A Girl’ on a Rihanna-starring Fenty Beauty cosmetics tutorial.
Songtradr is also able to execute large multi-song licenses and Paul mentioned “A very popular social media platform recently licenced thousands of tracks from us for a special use case on their platform.”
“They came to us because they wanted great music from all over the world, and required a one stop solution. We were able supply them with a broad choice of high-quality independent music for their purposes.”
As a result of the pandemic and in order to provide artists additional support at this time, Songtradr is offering artists free music distribution with unlimited releases and 100% of the royalties until year’s end.
For Songtradr, the pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in new music releases from artists using Songtradr as their distributor. “I think artists have been using this time to create more music and focus on what they can do now while live performance is off the table,” observed Victoria.
Victoria also mentioned that distribution of music is often the catalyst for licensing activity for artists and that a key driver for Songtradr’s continued success with brands, was the increasing availability of great independent music.
“There has always been demand for great music.”
“For Songtradr, our mission has been to grow industry awareness about the quality and diversity of the music on our platform. The benefit of being truly global is being able to access authentic, fresh and unique music from almost every country and culture.”
“Paul and I have been live musicians, songwriters and producers, so we feel a strong connection to the creative aspects of the music industry, and we are passionate about giving great music a chance to be discovered.”
“Artists put their heart and soul into their craft and we have to help nurture their creativity.”
“Without creativity, where would we be? Creativity and innovation are continually evolving and in a world which can sometimes feel a little off-balance, music can be a great leveler.”
“We’re proud to be able to contribute to the industry in a positive way and look forward to working with a lot more Aussies in the near future!”