By David G. Powell – President, The Music Bridge LLC
One of the perks of being a busy music clearance and licensing company is that we are blessed to work with all kinds of corporate branding, advertising, promotion and marketing campaigns for all types of media and all types of music. Sitting at the hub of the wheel as music rights “brokers”, we have up-to-date access to music licensing trends and policy adjustments from all major and major/indie record labels and music publishers, as well as from our clients’ continual up-leveling of creative strategies and media rights packages for their own branding campaigns, commercials and/or corporate content.
One common phrase we have heard a lot from music publisher and record label licensing departments during music clearance negotiations is “Internet is the New TV”. While television and radio campaigns, whether local, regional or national, are continually active in their use of popular music for commercials, it is now commonplace to include digital rights in some form. And these digital rights packages are increasingly taking the shape of the music licensing parameters typical of television and radio.
How so? To explain, the basic ingredients of music clearance for a television and/or radio campaign media rights package is: type of media, term, and territory. In other words: what kind of TV (free, cable, pay-per-view, etc.) or what type of radio (terrestrial or internet); in what territory is the commercial broadcasting (local, regional, national, Intl.); and for how long (term). This may include exclusivity (broad or limited to a certain industry or territory), plus various renewal options. Thus, media, term and territory are the prime ingredients factoring into what fees are quoted by the record labels and publishers as the music rights holders.
Remember the "olden days" (not too long ago) before YouTube and social media, where putting content on corporate websites was cutting edge? Because it was the “world wide web”, a URL could be accessed from anywhere in the world, thus the territory was always “worldwide”.
Currently, in the “no media buy” category, the most requested online corporate content usage rights package we procure day in and day out is “Corporate YouTube Channel with links to Social Media”, which may also include the corporate website URL(s). Websites and certain social media now have the technical ability to be “geo-gated”, meaning limited to a certain territory. We never send out formal music clearance quote requests without our clients already answering this “geo-gating” question, as we know the music licensors will inevitably ask. And again, the rule of thumb in keeping music licensing fees as low and tight as possible is to define media, term and territory.
In the online media buy category, branding and advertising campaigns may employ “all internet”, or specific limited digital media strategies, with creative storyboards the same or similar to television commercial spots in terms of how many unique creatives along with lifts, edits, cut downs, versions, etc. These can now not only be website “geo-gated”, but also “geo-targeted”, meaning that you can now control the actual territory where your campaigns or corporate content are viewed, much like television and radio.
And thus we have come full circle, with digital rights campaign parameters and strategies for popular music mirroring TV and radio. This is good news in terms of the more you can define media, term and territory, the more you can tighten the music licensing fee quotes. But without a doubt, as the usages of popular music in online campaigns continue to increase, so have the music industry licensing departments taken note and adjusted their fees upward.
See Also: Music Rights For Advertising