YouTube monetization and micro-licensing have become essential sources of income for a growing number of artists and labels. Now smart startups like Rumbefish are creating the tools to manage, track and monetize these new outlets.
This week, in a SXSW panel about music micro-licensing, Rumblefish CEO Paul Anthony Troiano disclosed the rollout of a patent-pending technology called RADKey, which makes it easy to use licensed music in a YouTube video by giving video creators the ability to block ads or monetize videos on YouTube. The panel, titled “Micro-Licensing: The Fast Growing Future of Sync”—was moderated by NPR’s Laura Sydell and also included CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner, and was live-tweeted by audience members with the hashtag, #GrowSync.
The technology from Rumblefish - early pioneers in the micro-sync sphere, and now a subsidiary of SESAC - allows video makers to go to websites like Shutterstock, AudioSocket, SynchTank and Friendly Music to license songs and purchase an alpha-numeric code (the RADKey) easing the use of music in their video creations. The keys are also integrated into Audible Magic, who provides digital fingerprint content recognition technology that enables fast and accurate identification of music in video networks such as Facebook, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Twitch and others.
“It’s like a music license ‘barcode’ that lets video creators use licensed music in their videos and easily monetize that video or block ads, all while fairly compensating artists,” said Troiano prior to the panel. “The RADKey enables YouTube to ‘read’ complex music licenses, making it easy for anyone to use licensed music in a YouTube video.”
Before the launch of RADKeys, even videos with legally licensed music, would face takedowns or being cut off from monetizing their video content. Now the video creator enters the code into their YouTube dashboard to confirm their right to use the music.
Once the code is entered, YouTube and Rumblefish communicate programmatically and verify the license, specific song, use type etc. automatically. This allows the video creator to control the options around monetization.
“We license over 150,000 songs every day and have played a big part in making music micro-licensing accessible and useful to video creators everywhere,” said Troiano. “We saw an enormous issue for video creators and artists who were having trouble navigating the YouTube claiming system and we provided a solution that’s good for YouTube, video creators and artists alike.”
The rollout of RADKeys offer a compelling hint into the recent acquisition of Rumblefish by SESAC.
“SESAC has always had a strong vision for the future of music licensing and rights administration and our acquisition of Rumblefish was the first move in that direction,” said John H. Josephson, SESAC Chairman and CEO. “Investing in RADKey furthers our vision to offer an expanded, more efficient licensing and administration model with a first of its kind technology. SESAC is continually seeking opportunities to use new technologies to help creators maximize the value of their works and RADKey represents an important new means for them to expand the universe of digital platforms on which their works can be monetized.”
Four years in the making, RADKeys may be the missing piece of the puzzle to fuel the growth of music micro-licensing as a viable revenue stream for the music and video industries. “We’re making the internet literate when it comes to reading music licenses, which removes enormous friction for video networks, video creators, and artists and labels,” said Troiano. “We couldn’t be more thrilled!”