Digital rights administrator Audiam has signed Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers for an exclusive North American representation of the bands' publishing catalogs across digital music services including YouTube, Spotify, Beats, Google Play, Rhapsody, Deezer, Amazon Prime and iTunes Match. Both rock bands are managed by Q Prime and signed to Warner Music Group, the only major-label group not affiliated with YouTube music video network Vevo.
Audiam founder and CEO Jeff Price says the new signings are the latest example of artists and publishers looking to streamline the way their mechanical royalties get collected. As former CEO of rights administrator TuneCore, Price has seen as much as 7 to 12% of mechanical royalties paid to the wrong person or entity in the past, with somewhere between 15 and 30 percent of sound recordings going entirely unpaid because they're not being routed back to the composer. "It's sex, drugs and rock 'n roll vs. technology," Price says.
Price reports that Audiam has collected roughly $150,000 in retroactive revenue in the last four months alone -- $50,000 of which came in the last four weeks from clients like Jason Mraz, Pretty Lights and House of Hassle publishing (Grizzly Bear, Magnetic Fields) who hadn't yet collected royalties from digital music services dating as far as back as 2010. "These are fairly small catalogs relative to what's out there in the world, so you look at that 50 grand and you think, what else is out there?" Price says.
Publishing client Mraz is also one of a series of investors that has helped Audiam raise more than $2 million in funding since its June 2013 launch, including Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz, artist manager/concert promoter Bill Silva and, in March, Marc Geiger of William Morris Endeavor.
Other Audiam clients include the publishers and publishing catalogs of Imagem (Genesis/Phil Collins, Rodgers & Hammerstein), Dolly Parton, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Graham Nash, Kris Kristofferson, Epitaph Records, Victory Records, Trent Reznor, Pretty Lights, Fig Music (Bad Religion, Every Time I Die), Herbie Hancock, Aimee Mann, and Tori Amos.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Chad Smith told Billboard around the time of this year's Super Bowl that the band had begun writing for their next album, a follow-up to 2011's I'm With You, while Metallica's Lars Ulrich recently revealed in Billboard's brands and music roundtable that the band was hitting the studio in mid-September to record the follow-up to 2008's Death Magnetic.