How is Songclip different from other third-party music aggregators?
Who’s who and what’s what?! Music licensing and third-party aggregators can be confusing! When you think about all the different entities that issue licenses and all the other entities to help with your content delivery and reporting, it’s understandable that you might need some clarity. That’s why we put together a comprehensive comparison chart, to outline various music companies’ capabilities and help you determine which companies satisfy your needs.
As you may have figured out by now, different companies issue different licenses. Our DIY Guide will help you determine which licenses you need and which companies you should approach to secure those licenses if you’re planning to go direct.
Once licenses have been secured, you’ll begin to see the nuanced reporting requirements: different licensors have different reporting requirements and in order to execute a direct licensing agreement, you’ll need to name an approved administrator to fulfill the reporting obligations of your agreement.
There are different approved administrators for different licensing entities. As an example, 7digital tends to be the preferred sound recording administrator for master recording delivery, tracking, and reporting. HFA/Rumblefish is considered the preferred rights administrator for almost all publishers. Here at Songclip, we do both.
Whether or not you decide to license through Songclip, or secure your own direct licensing agreements, let us help further define these terms:
Sync Licenses: Required for audio-visual combinations (issued by labels and publishers). Songclip has pass-through licensing including sync licensing for audio-visual creations.
Performance Licenses: Gives permission to play songs on your platform (issued by PROs). Songclip has pass-through licensing in partnership with performance organizations.
Metadata: Most third parties provide standard meta-data, generally including album artwork, artist images, and artist attribution. Lyrics are provided through a separate third party (i.e. LyricFind or Genius). Songclip provides all standard metadata AND lyrics.
Label Reporting: Each label has different reporting requirements and third parties who specialize in label reporting are set up to service the labels as such. In your direct agreement, you’ll need to hire an administrator to deliver the music in the file required for your platform (content delivery) based on the rights granted, and report back to the labels on all required usage data. As an example, if you have a direct deal with Universal Music Group, your third-party administrator should only be delivering you content from Universal Music Group. This assures the content on your platform is licensed per your agreement and not owned by another label.
Publisher Reporting: There are often multiple publishers on any given song (this is almost always the case for popular music). Publishing administrators have the breakdown of ‘splits’ (fractional ownership) and can therefore tell you which publishers own what % of a song. This data is important to ensure a song on your platform isn’t partially owned by a publisher who you’re not licensed with.
Publisher Rights Mapping: This is required to ascertain which correct publishing information is tied to the master recording based on the rights licensed. As an example, if you have an agreement with UMG and UMPG, the UMG feed of music needs to be matched against the UMPG feed, to understand which songs from the UMG catalog are fully owned by UMPG. If other publishers own pieces of UMG songs, you cannot legally use that music unless otherwise licensed.
PRO Reporting: Required reporting back to the performance organizations, and a content feed that designates PRO ownership. As an example, if you have your licenses for a particular song for both label and publishing. You also need to have a license to legally allow that song to be played/performed on your platform.
Royalty Payment Administration: Almost all third parties will handle your royalty payment administration. This is generally calculated against usage reporting, per the term of your direct agreement.
Curated Categories and Playlists: It’s important to think about how your users will search and discover music on your platform. You can build this functionality in-house, or you can find a service with expert content curation to give your customers a unique music experience. Think Spotify playlists and moods.
Clips vs. Previews: Previews are not clips. Some services offer previews - this is usually the first 30 seconds of a song or the bridge. Previews are supplied by labels as a “sample” but there’s no contextual search or data built around these previews.
Contextual Search: Almost all music search is done by word-search, i.e. artist, song, album. Contextual search allows your users to search by lyric, artist, and title, but also by mood, genre, greeting, emotion, seasonality, theme, soundtrack, event, etc. It's a search specifically designed for the social use case.
On-Demand Song Selection: This refers to allowing your end-user to search for a particular clip or track they want to use, versus a playlist or a radio station-type experience. Your users can search for and use a specific song instead of being offered similar music.
Service Cost: Your service cost does not include your cost of licensing. This is a separate annual or monthly fee that is charged by the third party you decide to use. You need to factor this into your budget because each service prices the cost of their services separately (and differently)!
Why does Songclip seem to be so much more expensive than the other options on this list? It’s because your licensing fees are actually built into the Songclip cost. While we separate Songclip technology fees from licensing fees on any given proposal, Songclip is the one-stop shop for accomplishing all of the above, without approaching individual entities for individual services and licenses.