File Under: Making Money With Music, Getting Licensed and Generating Royalties, Networking and Building Your Team, Thought Leader Interviews
Starting this Friday (Sept 30-Oct 2) CDBaby is back in Chicago hosting its 2nd Annual DIY Musician Conference at the Congress Plaza Hotel (where we will be appearing on the panel Why Music Publishing Is More Important Than Ever). In a lead up to the conference, we reached out to Tracy Maddux, CD Baby's CEO, to get his thoughts about making money in today's music business. Not only does he run one of the more influential companies for musicians today, he has a background in information technology which gives him an interesting perspective.
In part I of this interview, Maddux talked about YouTube, sync licensing, and the upcoming DIY Musician Conference:
Q: What are some of the latest ways musicians can monetize their music today?
Two of the best ways that have emerged in the last couple of years is monetizing YouTube and making money from sync licensing. Musicians need to take advantage of all the ways they can make money and these two continue to grow in importance.
Q: Let's talk about monetizing YouTube first. What's your advice for musicians?
When talking about making money with YouTube, we break it up in two ways: active and passive. And, we recommend doing both.
Passive monetization is where an artist allows their music and user generated content to be viewed on YouTube and it can be monetized via YouTube's Content Management System and will earn up to a micro-penny per stream from advertising revenue.
More actively, we encourage artists to create their own channels, their own videos, and their own compelling content to build a fanbase. This can be done in all sorts of creative ways -- from posting original music, recording cover songs, or sharing behind-the-scenes videos. One of the mentors and speakers we're going to have at this year's DIY Musician Conference is Peter Hollens who is a legend for using cover songs on YouTube to build a fanbase -- he has 1.4 million subscribers -- and great live performances.
Another important stream that recently started is YouTube Red. This is YouTube's competitor to Spotify and Apple Music. It's only in the US at this time, but CD Baby already has artists from 122 countries included in this service already and it's one to watch.
Q: You mentioned sync licensing. What's your advice for musicians?
I'm even more excited about sync licensing and what our direct sync licensing service for musicians has been able to do. We've seen many CD Baby artists getting their music placed in movies, tv shows, and commercials -- places that historically were "velvet roped" off and only available to major label artists in the past. For instance, so far we've had 8 songs placed in the David Duchovny show on NBC, Aquarius. We’ve placed songs in HBO's Vice Principals. One placed in an UbiSoft video game. And just recently an artist in Oaxaca Mexico got a nice sync fee on a song he recorded two or three years ago from a T-Mobile commercial placement. License fees can vary in range depending on the usage, but we've had some payouts to CD Baby artists totalling $3,000 to almost $20,000.
At this year's conference, we'll of course be talking about some of the tools out there where musicians can pitch their music to music supervisors so they can be considered for placement. But another way they've been able to get these placements is through our service. We've partnered with a service called SynchTank where, for those artists who said yes to our sync service, we've been enhancing the metadata of their catalog. We're adding additional data that music supervisors need when discovering and assessing songs for their projects. So our CD Baby experts are adding things like BPM (beats per minute), mood, "sounds like", and more when submitting the songs to their service.
Q: And, with the Conference only two weeks away, can you give us some reasons as to why musicians should attend this year's DIY Musician Conference in Chicago?
Sure. Beyond the 30 plus sessions, best-in-class guest speakers, mentors, and panel discussions, one of the big reasons to attend is to network and connect with other musicians in person. The music industry is completely different today than it was just ten years ago. No two musicians have the same success story. So, you can learn a lot from each other as well as what we have scheduled. The conference really brings musicians from all over the Midwest together so they can meet each other in person, connect, share, and learn from each other's experience.
But another reason is because of what we focus on. We're different than other conferences. Before we launched the DIY Musician Conference last year, we did a lot of research on other conferences and found so many were focused on the state of the music industry. This isn't that helpful to independent musicians. So we set about creating a conference that put the indie musician at the center of the experience. We wanted to create a conference that spoke directly to them and their needs. So, musicians attending will be presented with very practical, useful advice.
About Tracy Maddux
Tracy Maddux is the CEO of CD Baby, a physical and digital distribution, micro-sync licensing, web-hosting, publishing, and royalty collection service. In short, CD Baby gives independent musicians the same advantages and reach that “signed” artists enjoy, without interfering with the musician's creative vision or copyright ownership. Tracy has an MBA in Finance and Information Systems from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
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- How We Turned A Fun Song About Star Wars Into A Licensing Deal -- 5 Lessons You Can Use
- Reader Questions & Answers: Copyright, YouTube, and Monetization
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Photo Credit: CD Baby