Songfreedom


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About

 
Songfreedom:

-Real Music. Licensed.

-Artists supporting artists.

-A place where photographers and cinematographers can come to find the perfect song for their   story with the click of a button.

-A music-licensing platform with the best music available, including top-40 tracks by Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, ...

 

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Contact

Publicist
Jeff Greene
812-339-1195

Current News

  • 06/22/201606/22/2016

Patient Persistence, Old-Fashioned Listening: How to Build a Successful Music Business in the Digital Age

Matt Thompson, CEO and founder of Songfreedom, is not afraid to leap down paths others fear to tread. From young manager to music licensing entrepreneur, Thompson used a natural inclination for persuasion and sales to become a leading force in the democratization and expansion of music licensing.

Thompson was high school friends with a singer whose career began taking off. He asked Thompson, who had a head for business, to get involved as a manager. Thompson agreed, though he knew he was in...

Press

  • Post Magazine, Article, 08/31/2016, Songfreedom Flies with New Soundtrack Platform Attachment
  • Hack the Entrepreneur, Interview, 08/30/2016, Humble Enough to Ask : Matt Thompson Text
  • Music Connection, Feature story, 08/24/2016, Out Take: Matt Thompson, Songfreedom CEO Text
  • Consequence of Sound, Article, 08/04/2016, The Collapse of Music Dealers and Music Licensing’s “Race to the Bottom” Text
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News

06/22/2016, Patient Persistence, Old-Fashioned Listening: How to Build a Successful Music Business in the Digital Age
06/22/201606/22/2016, Patient Persistence, Old-Fashioned Listening: How to Build a Successful Music Business in the Digital Age
Announcement
06/22/2016
Announcement
06/22/2016
Matt Thompson, CEO and founder of Songfreedom, is not afraid to leap down paths others fear to tread. From young manager to music licensing entrepreneur, Thompson used a natural inclination for persuasion and sales to become a leading force in the democratization and expansion of music licensing. MORE» More»

Matt Thompson, CEO and founder of Songfreedom, is not afraid to leap down paths others fear to tread. From young manager to music licensing entrepreneur, Thompson used a natural inclination for persuasion and sales to become a leading force in the democratization and expansion of music licensing.

Thompson was high school friends with a singer whose career began taking off. He asked Thompson, who had a head for business, to get involved as a manager. Thompson agreed, though he knew he was in for a real challenge.  “We were barely 20 years old and we were just some punk kids who didn’t know anything,” he recalls with a laugh. “Here’s my buddy with the amazing voice, I thought, and I’m going to keep beating down doors until I get what I want.” What he wanted, and what he got, were offers from several major labels for recording contracts.

The persistence came into play again when Thompson left a successful, but unsatisfying career in banking and finance to pursue a wacky idea suggested by a videographer friend. Instead of forcing professional videographers to use canned music for soundtracks to wedding or other event footage, why not create a way for people to get licenses for a limited but common set of usages, at a convincing price point?

“We knew this would be hard, but worth it, because no one else had done this,” Thompson says. “There is still no one out there who has all the rights we do. It’s a unique thing. We started piecing things together in October 2009, seven years ago.”

Thompson quit his job, and the two friends met regularly at a local bakery, scheming what it would take to make this service a reality. Neither had any background in music licensing or law, so Thompson reached out to another friend, Milton Hopkins, who had worked in licensing in LA and Austin, for advice. He got them some contacts. Then Hopkins and Thompson got to work.

“From that point on, it was all about selling the concept and being as persistent as possible. Eventually someone would say yes,” Thompson recounts. “I’d build rapport with really smart people and then I’d slowly work my way up the ladder to a final decision maker.” The concept was novel, a new kind of right that most labels and publishers weren’t sure what to make of.

Yet, as Thompson predicted, the tide turned at last. He got a EVP at a well-respected record label on the phone, who listened to Thompson’s pitch and replied that he had to check with some managers, but that he thought it sounded like a good idea. Many other yeses followed, until Songfreedom had all the majors and a huge catalog of wildly popular music (even the coveted Sinatra blessing). “When Warner cleared Jason Mraz for us, who was a super hot item at the time, I knew we had something,” explains Thompson.

Along with relentless pitching, Thompson learned quickly how to deal with the labyrinth of music rights: Admit what you don’t know, and never be afraid to ask for input. “It’s easy for an enthusiastic startup from the tech world to present a great idea to music professionals, but you have to listen to their feedback,” Thompson advises. “You need to grasp their perspective on licenses, and ask people, what would you alter in this agreement to make this easier? The different labels and publishers were all much smarter than I am when it comes to the deal terms. I let negotiation educate me.”

This education is a crucial one: Songfreedom is part of the minority of music tech companies with strong business bases and a sustainable model. Thompson and his team fought to identify and address true pain points for rights holders and potential music licensors, from the church group to the small-budget filmmaker. “You need to be patient,” he cautions. “Everyone is busy with huge deals, all the time. It’s not about what’s hot now; it’s about carefully building a strong business.”

About Songfreedom

Songfreedom licenses Top 40, iconic, indie, epic cinematic, and other amazing music so you have the freedom to choose the type of music that best fits your video. No hoops. No huge fees. Just music.

Announcement
06/22/2016

06/07/2016, Songfreedom Creates New Pricing Approach Tailor-Made for the New World of Content Creation and Legal Music
06/07/201606/07/2016, Songfreedom Creates New Pricing Approach Tailor-Made for the New World of Content Creation and Legal Music
Announcement
06/07/2016
Announcement
06/07/2016
Songfreedom has a new way of pricing songs, to serve more diverse audiences with a wider range of budgets. With its growing catalog of licensed, legal music for marketers and filmmakers, Songfreedom now sets different rates for different users, creating affordable alternatives to piracy. MORE» More»

Songfreedom has a new way of pricing songs, to serve more diverse audiences with a wider range of budgets. With its growing catalog of licensed, legal music for marketers and filmmakers, Songfreedom now sets different rates for different users, creating affordable alternatives to piracy and letting people use their favorite hits, not knock-off tracks. It reflects a major shift in music usage toward rapidly evolving individual use on video platforms and apps, which demand new frictionless solutions to licensing music.

Offering close to 100 different pricing scenarios makes these solutions available to more precise market segments. “People from all walks of life actually want to license music, so we’re pricing it to encourage that,” said Songfreedom CEO Matt Thompson.

As video technology gets easier and more ubiquitous, sound-to-image licensing is still dominated by convoluted negotiations and unpredictable prices. Songfreedom is the first and largest company to provide turnkey solutions that allow the songs everyone knows and loves to be legally and publicly shared—so video creators encounter less hassle, and rights holders get more income.

“Developing these pricing options is our response to two trends,” continued Thompson. “One, casual music consumers are learning about licensing and piracy and their own responsibility to be honest and lawful. And two, we have so many different kinds of customers now”—not just wedding videographers and independent cinematographers, but teenage vloggers, priests on mission trips, corporate trainers, non-profit fundraisers, realtors, podcasters, Instagram users, marketers, ad agencies, and more.

Here’s how it works: A prospective customer wants to add a favorite track to a video--say, Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning,”--and goes to Songfreedom to find out more about licensing. When she clicks the “buy” button, Songfreedom asks her to declare her purpose and identify herself as an individual, non-profit, or corporation. Songfreedom takes it all into account and then shows whether “Sunday Morning” is available to her and for how much. Some songs’ licenses cost as little as $15, while others cost up to $1500.

Even with multi-layered tiers of pricing, some high-end users require songs not yet in Songfreedom’s catalog. Thompson works to acquire the rights if possible, usually for limited use and timeframe. “We know who the players are,” commented Thompson, “and we can get ahold of them quickly, understanding what kinds of rights are in play—mechanical, master, neighboring, or publishing.”

About Songfreedom:

Songfreedom acquires, bundles, and sells music synchronization rights to videographers, photographers, and other professional clients. Founded in 2010, it expands soundtrack possibilities for a wide range of uses, audiences, and budgets to include legally licensed songs—from new indie tracks to Top-40 hits. It’s the first company to offer pre-cleared sync licenses from labels like Universal Music Group, Sony, and Warner Music Group; and large publishers like Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, Kobalt, BMG, Disney, Downtown, and Roundhill. Songfreedom makes it possible for everyday people to use great music in videos without the unwieldy, expensive process of obtaining rights, and it’s all available online.

Announcement
06/07/2016

04/22/2016, Songfreedom Acquires, Bundles, and Sells Sync Rights to New Audiences; Filmmakers and Photographers Willingly Pay to Do the Right Thing
04/22/201604/22/2016, Songfreedom Acquires, Bundles, and Sells Sync Rights to New Audiences; Filmmakers and Photographers Willingly Pay to Do the Right Thing
Announcement
04/22/2016
Announcement
04/22/2016
In the old days, you had to be a major Hollywood filmmaker, TV studio, or ad agency with a wad of cash to acquire rights to mainstream music. Now soundtrack possibilities for videographers, photographers, and independent cinematographers are expanding to include legally licensed hits thanks to a platform called Songfreedom. MORE» More»

There’s a quiet revolution underway. In the old days, you had to be a major Hollywood filmmaker, TV studio, or ad agency with a wad of cash to acquire rights to mainstream music. Now soundtrack possibilities for videographers, photographers, and independent cinematographers are expanding to include legally licensed, heavy-duty hits, thanks to a platform called Songfreedom.

With 39% of the world’s population on the Internet and expecting quick, on-demand services, Songfreedom is the user-friendly solution for creatives who could never before access popular songs legally. CEO Matt Thompson described the service: “We scoop up the rights to thousands of songs and make it possible for everyday people to use the music without any hassle, and it’s all available with a single click online. Rights owners have been very gracious to try our little experiment, and it’s paying off big-time for everyone.”

Songfreedom, born in 2010, surprised the music industry when it was the first company to offer pre-cleared sync licenses from labels like UMG, Sony, and WMG; and large publishers like UMPG, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, Kobalt, BMG, Disney, Downtown, and Roundhill. Cleared for use are top-40 tracks by Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, One Republic, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Rob Thomas, American Authors, Marvin Gaye and many more. Also obtainable are songs by well-known indie artists like Ingrid Michaelson, Tyrone Wells, and The Afters.  No one else has been able to secure pre-cleared licenses from all of these rights-holding giants. Songfreedom is the only place to get mainstream music for as little at $59.99 for one-time use.

Another result of Songfreedom’s egalitarian feat is more royalties for songwriters and their co-owners. Industry insiders say major labels don’t do pre-cleared deals, but Songfreedom proves them wrong. It smooths out the friction and helps a vast web of music co-owners say “yes” to licensing for smaller-budget productions. The result is “found money” for rightsholders, with pay-outs of millions. “If you own or represent music that’s not yet on Songfreedom with all of these icons,” remarks Thompson, “you should really check into it.”

The “eureka moment” that led the CEO to found Songfreedom came when a buddy shooting a wedding tried to brave the unwieldy, expensive process of acquiring rights to use a song. He couldn’t get a response from a record label—not that he could have afforded the licensing costs anyway. “Videographers’ options were either to use really awful, royalty-free, 1980s keyboard music legally or to use something that sounds good illegally,” explained Thompson. “For every single usage, you had to get permission from every label, their artist, as well as every publisher and their writers (of which there could be several). Everyone had to agree if the money was right for the use. Instead, we negotiate a set of rights for a nominal fee, as long as the music is used for specified purposes.”

Not surprisingly, Songfreedom’s rapid growth has coincided with customers learning to use an exploding range of technological options. One in three weddings now uses a professional videographer. Choosing beloved music to complement the visuals adds emotional context and shows experiences in their best light.  Fans want their favorite music in videos about life experiences like weddings, holidays, sporting events, church events, sweet 16 parties, and bar and bat mitzvahs.

At the same time, TV networks, filmmakers, and advertisers have jumped in with sync and music supervision requests. One decades-old company making both mega-hit records and blockbuster films prefers to license their own songs for video content through Songfreedom, rather than deal with its own legal department. Songs licensed by Songfreedom can be found in ads for companies like Nike, Budweiser, Miller-Coors, Disney, and Microsoft, to name a few. Creators of corporate training courses and podcasters have also joined Songfreedom’s clientele.

Songfreedom’s skilled curation by real humans and content from all over the world complement the company’s enthusiasm for strong customer service. Playlists recommending tracks (by genre, mood, tempo, artist, instrumentation, and more) make it easy for users at all proficiency levels to plug in simple parameters and find what they’re looking for. Mainstream, indie, and production music are presented as a straightforward digest of the massive content available.

A videographer’s only choices used to be to either tarnish the video and the brand by using disappointing music or to steal from other artists and risk being sued. Songfreedom’s platform proves plenty of the “little guys” are willing to do the right thing—to pay reasonable prices to use music legally.

Announcement
04/22/2016