Music + Marketplaces = Money

April 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

Rock Band

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”  –  Friedrich Nietzsche

I read a fascinating (or at least I found it fascinating) article in The New York Times the other day, “Web Helps Musicians Sell Shares of Royalties.”  The piece chronicles the progress and potential of a service launched two years ago, The Royalty Exchange.  Per the company’s website, they are “the first efficient and transparent marketplace allowing you to sell all types of royalties from multiple industries including entertainment (music, books, TV, film), solar energy, oil/gas, intellectual property and pharmaceutical.”

Sticking with the focus of the Times article, that being music, The Royalty Exchange connects buyers of music royalties (investors) with sellers of music royalties (the royalty owners) via online auction.  When transacting in the marketplace, both buyers and sellers are charged a percentage of the deal.  By way of example, the piece features songwriter and producer Preston Glass, who needed to raise money in order “to embark on the next phase of his career — as a performing artist in his own right.”  Mr. Glass used The Royalty Exchange to sell a percentage of the rights to future income from songs he’d written, specifically when those songs are played on the radio or streamed online – as opposed to downloaded or sold on CD.  As the seller, he was able to define the terms of the sale, maintaining control of precisely which parts of his royalty income were to be sold.  The Times reporter also describes another, competing service, Lyric Financial, that provides royalty advances against future earnings. Musicians are charged a fee for the service.

As I learned from reading the article, the issues surrounding copyrights and ownership are complex, but not to the extent that they are insurmountable.  And, yes, the dynamics of building out both sides of a marketplace so that it becomes a dynamic, thriving thing can be tricky.  But…

After all of the negative news and dire predictions for the music industry overall, and individual musicians specifically, due to the rapid changes in the online world, it is encouraging to read about potentially viable options for revenue and funding of the creative enterprise.  And I am hopeful that creative business people will continue to find ways to use technology to develop new models that create value, rather than destroying it, so that musicians and other artists are able to continue to ply their craft and make a living doing so.

All of this nascent hopefulness for at least one aspect of the industry got me thinking about music, and the movies l love that are about music.  So, here you go: my top 5 picks for the best musical moments in movies about music.

Almost Famous – Tiny Dancer

Dreamgirls – And I’m Telling You

Hustle & Flow – Hard Out Here for a Pimp

Hard Day’s Night – Can’t Buy Me Love

Ray – Mess Around


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