Seeking to carve out a new model for licensing, SONGS Music Publishing struck a novel deal with Conde Nast Entertainment Partners, which agreed to use SONGS' catalog as the primary source of music for original online videos produced for its Glamour, GQ, Vogue and Wired channels on YouTube and elsewhere.
The nine-year-old boutique publishing company, known for the hands-on career building approach it takes with its 350 songwriters, is taking a similar tack with Conde Nast, promising to provide a high level of service in matching the publisher's videos with music from Diplo, Brian Lee, Nelly, Matt Thiessen and other artists on its roster.
"There is a new paradigm of high-volume content producers creating entertainment for distribution on YouTube and other online video outlets," SONGS Chief Executive Matt Pincus tells Billboard. "This is a huge and growing business that uses lots of music. The traditional music licensing infrastructure does not yet support this kind of content in an organized way."
Pincus said few YouTube networks have blanket licenses for music. "When they do, there is little service provided to them by publishers and labels," he said.
That's starting to change as online video starts to generate signficant advertising revenue. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital video ad spending will nearly double in four years, climbing from $4.14 billion in 2013 to $8.04 billion in 2016.
SONGS isn't the only publisher aiming to get a piece of that growing market. Universal Music Publishing Group, for example, in February agreed to license its catalog to Fullscreen and Maker Studios, each of which represent thousands of popular YouTube channels accounting for billions of views every month. The deal lets video makers in Fullscreen and Maker's networks produce fully licensed covers of Universal's songs in exchange for sharing in the advertising revenue generated by their videos.
Conde Nast launched its video network in March with an eye towards producing original programming, including shows on beauty, fashion, how-to and fitness that complement its magazine brands.
The terms of SONGS' licensing agreement with Conde Nast were not disclosed.