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Universal signs deal with Soundtrack Your Brand

By | Published on Tuesday 18 August 2020

Soundtrack Your Brand

B2B streaming platform Soundtrack Your Brand has announced a licensing deal with Universal Music, significantly boosting the catalogue it can offer its users.

Although, obviously, the public performance of recorded music in shops, cafes, bars, gyms and so on has taken something of a hit of late due to the COVID shutdown, there definitely remains a significant opportunity in the B2B streaming domain.

That basically involves providing businesses with a Spotify or Apple Music style service that comes with the required permissions to stream the music through sound systems in business premises. Although plenty of companies currently do that by using Spotify or Apple Music themselves, in doing so they are actually breaching the terms of their Spotify or Apple Music subscriptions.

B2B streaming set-ups charge a higher monthly subscription rate than consumer-facing platforms, making it a potentially lucrative extra revenue stream for the music industry. In 2018, Soundtrack Your Brand estimated that the industry at large was missing out on $2.65 billion per year as a result of small businesses using personal Spotify or Apple accounts rather than a proper B2B service.

Services like Soundtrack Your Brand also have the potential to overcome another issue for the music industry, which is not knowing what recorded music is being played in public. Whenever music is played in a public space – oblivious of the source of that music – public performance royalties are due to the music industry, usually paid via the collective licensing system, so PPL/PRS in the UK.

But one challenge for the collecting societies is working out what music is played and therefore who needs to be paid. If most premises ultimately start playing music via B2B streaming platforms, the industry will know exactly what tracks are being played, and can more accurately distribute royalties.

Some B2B services, including Soundtrack Your Brand, have already started working with societies in some markets, mainly so that they can bundle in the extra public performance royalties that are due in with their subscription fees, so that the clients get a one-stop-shop solution.

So, anyway, B2B streaming, a definite opportunity. And Spotify and Apple know that too. The latter last year launched a business-focused version of its service via a partnership with a company called Playnetwork. And the former was an early backer of Soundtrack Your Brand.

As a result, Soundtrack Your Brand initially utilised the Spotify catalogue for its platform during a pilot period in key Nordic markets. Though since 2018 it has been securing direct deals with music rights owners itself, including Sony Music, Warner Music and indie label repping Merlin. It says it now has alliances with 9000 music rights owners. And, as of today, that includes Universal Music too.

“In Soundtrack, we have a partner whose technological and strategic reimagining of an evolving business-to-business model will support us in ensuring creators are valued and fairly compensated”, says James Healy, SVP Digital Strategy And Business Development at Universal.

Meanwhile Soundtrack Your Brand founder Ola Sars adds: “Together with partners like UMG, we have reimagined the licensing and business-to-business model. We hold the conviction that music has intrinsic value as an art-form and that creators must be compensated for their contribution to a business”.

Also bigging up his service’s curation tools and expertise, he went on: “Brands can benefit artists in accessing new fans, if their in-store music is insightfully matched to their customer and brand values. It is my belief that through Soundtrack, there is substantial value to be unlocked for artists, rights owners and brands”.