Screen shot of CueSongs' prcing page -- and they do bespoke!
Three global brands are among the first users of CueSongs, the one-stop online music-licensing service co-founded by U.K. superstar Peter Gabriel in January and targeted at the burgeoning online-marketing sector and other digital usages.
The three marketers using the service, which is still in beta, are the China division of German auto giant Volkswagen; Lenovo, the China-based international computer maker; and the European arm of hotel group Marriott International.
CueSongs, which is still in beta mode, is expected to be fully commercial by this summer. Among the music labels and publishers that have assigned their catalogs on an international basis to CueSongs are Sony Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Gabriel's Real World Records, Music Sales, Peermusic, Infectious Music, Cooking Vinyl, Kudos Records, Tummy Touch Records, and Skint Entertainment. It is also in talks with the other major music labels and publishers about adding their repertoire.
CueSongs was launched to fill a gap in the music-licensing business that, CEO/co-founder Ed Averdieck says, is dominated by expensive production-music libraries and their time-consuming administration required for rights clearance.
"Although the demand for licensed music is growing, the way the rights are cleared hasn't changed since the dawn of the Internet," he tells Billboard.biz. "You still need to approach the master recording's owner, which is usually the record company, and reach an agreement with the publisher as well. It has been done manually and is driven by the size of your budget."
That approach, he explains, does not work if you want to use a track for a website or branded video content on YouTube, for example, at short notice. CueSongs is designed to resolve that problem.
"As more and more marketing budgets move online," Averdieck adds, "there will be a big increase in the demand for high-quality music but used on a smaller scale, such as for viral campaigns, online games and mobile apps. That is additional revenue to give to labels and publishers."
Gwantsi, a leading content production company in China, licensed tracks for online and digital campaigns by Lenovo and Volkswagen aimed at the domestic Chinese market.
The U.S. headquartered Marriott used a track licensed from U.K. independent label Infectious Music in a video celebrating its expansion in Europe with a host of new hotels. The video was screened during internal communications and at an event attended by business partners and staff in Los Angeles. 4
"CueSongs enables companies to easily select and gain approval to use dynamic and relevant music tracks for all marketing and corporate communication needs, which has previously been both challenging and time-consuming through music libraries," said Belinda Pote, chief sales & marketing officer at Marriott International, Europe, in a statement.
CueSongs' rates range from £99 to £999 ($160-$1,616) for online usage, depending on the track, the application, the geographic reach and timescale of up to two years.
CueSongs also makes tracks available at the same rates when the music is used at events, such as awards ceremonies, for a license term of up to three months. The licensing site is expected to move from beta to fully commercial by this summer.
Although one of the world's biggest music superstars, Gabriel is renowned for his entrepreneurial commitments to developing digital music and media via ventures such as OD2, the pioneering digital-download platform that he co-founded and was sold to U.S.-based LoudEye in 2004. Gabriel is also a backer of the U.K. online music-discovery service The Filter.
Averdieck was OD2's sales and marketing director. He later became managing director of Nokia Music, after the Finnish handset manufacturer acquired LoudEye in 2006 to create its own digital-music service.