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Online Video Monetization Heats Up: Q&A With Rumblefish Founder/CEO On Acquisition By SESAC

Rumblefish-incTwo weeks ago video monetization and micro-sync company Rumblefish announced that they had been acquired by SESAC, the only for-profit PRO and the PRO known to be fastest growing and most technologically progressive. While other companies have emerged to assist artists and labels monetize their music on YouTube, Rumblefish was one of the earliest players and has the farthest reach in other types of video micro-sync including licensing tracks to smartphone video applications, web-based editing services, and online marketplaces for film, video, and slide shows.

Rumblefish recently announced that YouTube videos with music from their 5-million-copyright catalog are averaging over 1.4 billion views per month. Given that this is one of the first acquisitions of a technology company by a PRO, we asked Rumblefish CEO/founder Paul Anthony Troiano about the implications of this news.

1. How does Rumblefish differ from other players who help rights-holders monetize online video?

The online video creation movement is in full swing with millions of videos being created by amateurs and professionals every day. Rumblefish is the only full service music micro-licensing platform for rights-holders providing not only the best monetization on YouTube, but also in the much broader universe of online video that’s happening in mobile and desktop video apps like WeVideo, content marketplaces like Shutterstock and YouTube competitors like Vimeo.

YouTube is a big part of monetizing your music in online video but the high-earning formula that we’ve fine-tuned is much more comprehensive than just claiming videos on YouTube like our competitors do. Over 50,000 micro-licenses happen on our platform every day earning our rights-holders royalties when they’re licensed, and creating even more revenue on YouTube because our rights-holders’ music is showing up in more videos than rights-holders who aren’t on our platform. The world of online video is quickly diversifying and revenue from YouTube is increasing every day. Our micro-licensing deals with leading video creation apps, content marketplaces and online video networks contribute more total revenue for our rights-holders every quarter.

2. What are the primary ways this acquisition will affect Rumblefish?

The additional funding provided as part of the acquisition will help us expand our catalog and grow our micro-licensing and YouTube monetization businesses much faster with additional key hires, bigger investments in our already advanced tech platform as well as investing for the first time in marketing our services. We’ve grown entirely by word-of-mouth until this point.

3. What's the significance of RF being acquired by a PRO; and SESAC in particular?

image from www.musicrow.comt’s symbolic of a big change in the broader music licensing landscape. The music industry is acknowledging that things need to be simpler to facilitate growth. Generally speaking, licensing music is really hard. Not only is it a challenge to merely figure out which rights-holder is due a payment, it’s equally, if not more challenging to understand which organization to pay them through and for which type of rights on a territory by territory basis. Rumblefish is all about licensing music for anything, in a simple, efficient manner, leveraging our tech platform. SESAC is making a big move to greatly simplify licensing and we’re glad to be a part of it.

4. Are you aware of other PROs acquiring tech companies before or is this a first?

It’s a first. PRO’s have acquired IP from companies before, but we’re the first proper acquisition of a business by a PRO that we’re aware of, and we’re excited to play a part in the next evolutionary step in music licensing.

5. What are the most pressing topics in the field of micro-licensing?

Online video is pervasive; you see it everywhere you go and I’m sure every person reading this has made a video on their phone, probably recently… and often. The most pressing topics in music micro-licensing center around the following:

1 - Distribution: Getting in front of video creators. We put mini-music soundtrack marketplaces inside of popular destinations for video creators, amateurs and professionals. Our partnerships with Vimeo, Shutterstock, WeVideo and others make sure that when you make a video, you find an amazing song to use as a soundtrack, whether you’re a pro or a layperson. The challenge is getting in front of thousands of applications that are used by hundreds of millions of creators. That’s a lot of ground to cover.

2 - License Verification: Everything in micro-licensing needs to be automatic, or shall we say, programmatic. It’s taken multi-million dollar investments to build the necessary infrastructure to issue, process and verify tens of millions of licenses via the Rumblefish platform. When a user licenses a track from their favorite video application, online video network or content marketplace, they need to not get caught in the Content ID systems implemented by YouTube and others when they’ve legitimately secured a license. Offering an easy way for hundreds of millions of users to communicate licensed-rights for music instantly is a topic that’s really heating up and we’ve already solved the problem in a compelling way which we will announce soon.

3 - Catalog Availability: Making every song on the planet available for users to use as soundtracks in their videos. Rumblefish has licensed 2.5 million tracks and we add tens of thousands every week but video creators out there want to license any song they could possible think of, on demand. The more catalog that becomes available faster, the better adoption will be and the faster the market will grow.

6. Where do you see micro-licensing going in the next 2-3 years and how does RF fit into that picture?

Over the next several years micro-licensing will become one of the top new revenue streams for rights-holders alongside downloads, streaming and sync. All of the major content holders will jump into the game, and music marketplaces will exist inside of every video creation and editing application that you can get your hands on as either an amateur or a professional. A growing number of artists will use the incredible exposure provided by micro-licensing partners to launch new music and engage audiences to make more videos using their content. License verification challenges will get worked out so users will easily be able to use any song, popular or otherwise, in their online videos without the hassle of archaic content ID systems blocking or mis-appropriating ad revenue for their videos.