Launched in 2006, Songfreedom is a platform for filmmakers, videographers, cinematographers and photographers to legally add music to their projects while ensuring songwriters get paid––everyone wins. It was CEO Mark Thompson's previous job that helped him understand cash flow and see the mistakes other businesses made that ultimate made him a shrewd entrepreneur.
“It’s not just selling clients on using your product, because we don’t own product,” Thompson says. “It’s convincing labels, publishers, artists and writers to put their product on our platform.” Songfreedom is the first tool of its kind where rights to stream and sync music and the price are pre-negotiated from major record labels and music publishers. The idea was hatched between Thompson and a friend who was struggling to license music for his video production company.
“There are thousands of companies that need easy, more affordable access to music licensing. And it doesn’t make sense to spend time negotiating a license on a one-by-one basis—you’re missing out on income that way,” Thompson says. Prices differ by project. For example, there’s special pricing for student film projects.
As an entrepreneur, Thompson says he’s made a garden variety of mistakes, including taking too much advice. “There are a lot of people with a lot of different ideas about how things should be done, and you can find yourself spread too thin, running in too many directions, trying to please too many people at once.”
But that has contributed to the business savvy that has kept Songfreedom a largely automated company that doesn’t have to lay off employees, Thompson says. “We have to be smart with every dollar and not be greedy. We’ve focused on winning and getting the deal done. We can always go back and renegotiate things.”