|Brad Stark's Blog|
Brad is a music composer for games, film & other media. You can learn more about him at his website www.brad-stark.com
Getty Licensing Partnership with SoundCloud: 35% Licensing Fees for Musicians
By Brad Stark
Getty Music has announced a licensing partnership with SoundCloud. Artists receive “35% of the upfront licensee fee plus 50% of Getty Images' share, as publisher, of any backend performance royalties.”  The licensing agreement is opt-in only and details of the licensing agreement can be read in Getty’s FAQ on SoundCloud’s website. 
Here’s museformation’s take on this royalty rate, which is below average:
“Many musicians are unhappy since the rate you will receive is 35% of the upfront licensee fee plus 50% of Getty Images’ share, as publisher, of any backend performance royalties. While substantially lower than many other outlets, Getty is a huge platform that has many opportunities for musicians. While the deal is non-exclusive, if you have someone working hard on your licenses, this is not an opportunity you need to be pursuing, especially since it can under-value the licensing opportunities you have on other services.” 
Many composers were upset when Getty acquired music licensing company Pump Audio in 2009 and reduced the payout from 50/50 to 35/65 in Getty’s favor. Getty explained, “…to fully support the 400+ person Getty Images sales staff and invest in marketing and technology needs that we must make adjustments to the current revenue split system.”  Composers that did not agree to the new licensing agreement were removed from Pump Audio.
For composer’s reactions to this deal, you can read the comment section of the Film Music Magazine article. Partners in Rhyme, a music licensing company commented on the Pump Audio rate reduction:
“It would be surprising if this was a Pump Audio decision but it is definitely not surprising that this is a Getty Images decision. Getty Images along with Jupiter Images are pretty ruthless in how they treat their composers. And their composers are the ones who make their business models profitable.” 
Music licensing is a billion dollar industry and many competing licensing companies offer higher royalty rates for musicians and composers meaning that a 50/50 split is very profitable for many licensing companies. 65% profit for Getty allows them to further increase their profit and continue their acquisitions of other music licensing companies as they have done in the photographic licensing industries in part with low licensing rates for content providers. After acquiring Flickr, Getty offers licensing royalty rates of 20-30% to photographers. In 2011, Getty cut the royalty scheme for editorial contributors: "Getty has announced a take-it-or-leave-it rate cut... 35 percent royalties for all sales.” 
Acquired by Carlyle Group in August 2012, Getty is expanding their music licensing business in part due to the declining newspaper industry: "Though valued below its peak last decade, [Getty] had continued to prosper by diversifying into video and music licensing, even as many of its traditional clients, including newspapers and magazines, suffered."  According to an article from Audio Korner, Getty has expanded its music catalog 40% through “partnerships with Elias, Atom Factory, Ah2, Indaba Music, Tribe of Noise and the artists and labels in its Guestlist initiative…. [and] a Hispanic division through… MuuseMe.com.” 
Also part of Getty’s agreement is 100% control over who can license your music as their FAQ states:
“Do I get to approve where and when my song can be used? No. Your agreement with Getty Images Music allows us to license your music to any client who is willing to pay money for its use.” 
This is not a standard licensing arrangement as many music licensing companies allow composers to restrict their work (for political or adult oriented content, for example). Here’s Getty’s explanation:
"Pre-clearance is a strong selling point for our clients who are more likely to use music that causes them less hassle." 
The fact is that there is no shortage of music available for licensing and this is a poor argument for restricting the right of composers to decide how their work is used and that it is very unlikely that clients would have any issues finding music. This agreement benefits Getty by allowing more content to be sold for any purpose, however.
: Soundcloud Getty Images, Frequently asked questions, http://soundcloud.gettyimages.com/faq
 Museformation, SoundCloud Teams Up With Getty For Licensing – When It Can Work For You, http://musformation.com/soundcloud-teams-up-with-getty-for-licensing-when-it-can-work-for-you
 Film Music Magazine, Pump Audio Cuts Composer Sync Fee Share 30%, http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=3109
 Partners in Rhyme, Pump Audio Demands (A lot) More Money From Their Composers, http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/blog/pump-audio-demands-a-lot-more-money-from-their-composers/
 PDN Pulse, Getty Cuts Pay for Editorial Contributors, http://pdnpulse.com/2011/11/getty-cuts-pay-for-editorial-contributors.html
 IMedia Connection, Carlyle Group acquires Getty Images for $3.3 billion, http://www.imediaconnection.in/article/1389/Digital/carlyle-group-acquires-getty-images-for-$33-billion.html
 Audio Korner, SoundCloud Partners With Getty Images Music, http://audiokorner.com/?p=8735
 Hypebot: SoundCloud, Getty Partner For Licensing: Musicians Lose 100% Control, Paid 35-50% Of $'s,http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/10/soundcloud-getty-partner-for-licensing-musicians-lose-100-control-paid-35-50-of-s.html
Final Fantasy VI Remix Contest: OCR
Overclocked Remix is holding a remix contest based on the music for the classic RPG Final Fantasy VI by composer Nobuo Uematsu and voting has now commenced!
You can download the tracks if you can't vote and listen in one sitting. A posting on the forum mentions that it is about two hours of music, total. The tracks are anonymous but I and at least one other GANG member submitted music for the competition. The voting ends June 14.
I recently purchased Soundiron's Emotional Piano library in late April and have been recording some classical piano inspired improvisations with it and posting them on soundcloud. I was attracted to the atmospheric sound of the piano and the beauty of the instrumental timbre.
You can listen to some recordings that I made with Emotional Piano on soundcloud.
I've had over 1700 plays this past week on soundcloud and the music has been getting some attention. Journalist and music writer Thomas L. Raukamp described one of my improvisations as "Classical piano-perfection".
I'm very pleased to announce that Soundiron has made me a featured artist on their website.
I've also been told that Soundiron may consider featuring some of my music on their music demo reel for Emotional Piano in the future at some point.
Just wanted to announce the release of my original soundtrack for the iPhone game Kingdom: The Conspiracy by Imagineer Games. The story is set in a fictional 1920's where America is ruled by Kings and a dangerous conspiracy to overthrow the Kingdom is slowly revealed to Vesper Delano and her investigative partner Duncan O'Malley. The game is still in development by Imagineer Games and the release is expected in early 2011. To reflect the time period of the game storyline, several cues in the soundtrack are influenced by the ragtime genre. To highlight the more dramatic situations, orchestral music sets the tone. Piano music and chamber music is also prominent in the soundtrack with fellow GANG member Jeff Ball making an appearance on violin in Anastasia's Tragedy. The soundtrack is available on iTunes, CD Baby, and other online stores.
The nicely designed artwork for the soundtrack features the main characters Vesper Delano and her partner Duncan O'Malley in the front along with enigmatic entrepreneur Gerad Fitzgerald and his bodyguard Molly Mags in the background.