Global live event recording specialist VNUE is to acquire music rights start-up Soundstr as it bids to ensure a "fairer" royalty system.
Soundstr aims to help businesses pay fairer music license fees based on actual music usage. Its acquisition leverages Soundstr’s progress in developing technology that will accelerate VNUE’s MiC (Music Identification Center) system to market.
“For years, the performance rights organisations (PROs), have utilised blanket licensing agreements to charge businesses, such as the 62,000-plus bars and taverns in the US, large fees for music they are likely never going to play, due mainly because the PROs have no idea what music is actually being played,” said VNUE CEO Zach Bair. “Because of this, many rights holders don’t see a dime from performances of their work in blanket licensed businesses. Our technology aims to solve this issue and make it fair for everyone.”
Cincinnati-based Soundstr was founded by Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger, co-founder and drummer of platinum-selling rock band Hawthorne Heights.
"The vision for Soundstr is to create transparency on real-world music use, ensure accurate songwriter payments when their works are used and simultaneously help licensees pay fees in accordance with their music use,” said Bucciarelli-Tieger. “VNUE is the natural home for Soundstr as the company seeks to carry on with that vision. I look forward to the day when General Performance royalties show up on my Performing Rights statements.”
Music licensees under the MiC system would only pay for music they actually used. Additionally, VNUE will leverage the technology in its business of “instant live” recording to streamline the process of those types of rights clearances.
“The current performing rights system discourages venues from having music and does not fairly compensate the musicians even if the venues do pay into the PRO system,” added Bair. “With the joining of the MiC system and Soundstr technology, we will better align the fees the venues pay with the music that’s actually played there, and by making this fee fair and transparent, increase the number of licensed venues, and ultimately increase royalty payments to the actual rights holders for the songs.”