Indie upstart provides easy access to new music
Companies like You License, Musync and Pump Audio have built hype off claims of having streamlined the music licensing process. The pitch: Indie musicians gain access to content producers, and content producers gain easy exposure to new talent.“There are no music clearance worries or delivery issues — it’s all there with a click of the mouse,” says 30-year-old CTO Dan Demole, co-founder of Jingle Punks. “We’re able to bridge the gap between the mindless stock music that other libraries provide and the expensive sync costs of major music acts.” If Jingle Punks, established a year ago, is the latest startup to boast that they’ve modernized the music licensing business, what might set them apart is a client list with some of the industry’s biggest players. “I told Dan if we started a library geared toward youth-oriented networks, things would happen,” says Jared Gutstadt, Jingle Punks co-founder and CEO. “Our first day was Aug. 10 of last year — we had the Food Network by October.” ABC, A&E, the History Channel, IFC, Bravo, Animal Planet, TV Land, E!, Starz and others were quick to follow. MTV Networks and NBC Universal’s Bravo channel both signed on within the last month. “Like all good inventions, it was just luck and circumstance,” Gutstadt says. Jingle Punks works by allowing any artists without a publishing deal to submit music on its website free of charge. If Gutstadt, 31, a musician and former Viacom editor, approves it, the artist’s music is added to the online Jingle Player library, where it is cleared for use in TV shows, advertisements or other mediums by any of Jingle Punks’ registered users. “We don’t play favorites based on who’s hot,” Gutstadt says. “Certain things that work in mainstream radio don’t necessarily translate to mainstream television. One of the questions we always ask is, ‘Is this a genre that has ever been used in a show before?’ ” Unlike You License, a competitor that allows any musician to upload music to its library, Jingle Punks employs a screening process. Although rejected applicants may resubmit new music following a three-month waiting period, not everyone will make the cut. “The most important thing is sonic quality,” Gutstadt says. “We’re not going to accept something recorded in a tin can — unless it’s supposed to be ironic or funny.” Unlike regular stock libraries, Jingle Punks allows the client to search its online database not only by genre, subgenre and tempo, but also cultural reference and similar artists. A producer looking for a “Juno” feel can simply search “Juno,” says Gutstadt. Search “Wes Anderson” to find a “Rushmore” ambience. And if it’s not in the library, the shingle will crowdsource the request to the hundreds of composers already in its system. “I think their greatest quality is just bringing something new to the fold,” says Krista Liney, director of production for on-air marketing at the History Channel. “And what they don’t have, they can create — and create quickly.” Jingle Punks offers a non-exclusive, 50-50 split with the artists, a middle-of-the-road cut for music licensing companies. Pump Audio and You License, both competitors, take 9% and 65% cuts, respectively. “Jingle Punks has since gotten us several television and internal corporate placements,” says singer-songwriter Erica Quitzow, founder of Young Love Records. “What it means to me is that I’m seeing money coming in as I stay all night in my recording studio.” Clients opt for any of the three contracts: a one-year blanket deal, one-series blanket deal or a one-track purchase. “Customer service will set us apart from other libraries,” Gutstadt says. “The people we work with are just as likely to go to the bar with us after.”
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