We spend a lot of time in this industry talking about images and picture quality, and few would argue that such things are not of critical importance. However, our writers have made it a point to showcase how and why audio can make an even bigger impression on viewers. Audio can immerse an audience like few other sensations, but budgets and logistics often have a way of limiting the power of that experience. How long have you spent listening to tracks to find that perfect piece of music? And if you even manage to find it, how often were you actually able to afford it?
That’s part of what makes the service from Music Vine so refreshing. The company started as a vision to democratize music licensing and to make it straightforward to find the right tracks, but they’ve taken this concept to a whole new level. Their prices are extremely reasonable, but the fact that they make it just as easy for artists to make money as they do for production professionals to sort through their catalogue is proof of their commitment to ensuring licensing music makes sense for everyone.
The team at Music Vine has put together a special offer for us, as PVC readers will be able to get 20% off their first license purchase with discount code: PROVIDEOCO20. In order to get a better sense of what you’ll be getting with that offer, we connected with Music Vine co-founder Lewis Foster to explore a variety of topics. We discuss what makes royalty-free music different, the benefits of their Suggestion Service, how their collections are organized, and plenty more.
ProVideo Coalition: Music Vine was started as a vision to democratize music licensing and to make it refreshingly straightforward to find the right tracks. What can you tell us about how this desire and vision came together?
Lewis Foster: Before we started Music Vine, Matt and I both worked in video production. Over time we had become more and more frustrated with one particular aspect of our work: the constant struggle of finding great music within our project budgets. Too much time was being lost to sifting through cluttered ‘stock music’ sites and only rarely would we find a track that we genuinely felt happy with. So an idea was sewn for a refreshing new platform that would carefully cultivate an exceptional catalogue, offer a set of straightforward and affordable licence options, and then present this all via a minimal platform, geared entirely toward making it easy for filmmakers to pinpoint the right track.
What makes royalty-free music different from other types of licensing?
Royalty-free simply means that beyond the initial license purchase there are no subsequent or ongoing fees required to cover the usage of the music for a given production. Royalty-free music is popular because it provides content creators with a very convenient, affordable and simple way of legally using music, and it’s in contrast to the time-consuming, complex and expensive deals usually involved if you’re looking to licence a track by a popular commercial artist.
How does Music Vine compare to other services of this type that are out there?
One comment we regularly receive from our customers is that they find the simplicity of Music Vine to be a refreshing change from other services. Keeping things simple is really at the core of Music Vine and it permeates everything we do, from our site’s design to our license structure.
Secondly, we’ve always wanted to celebrate diversity in our catalogue and we’re really honoured to be representing such a colourful breadth of artist types and musical styles. Diversity is a value that’s fundamental to Music Vine, and it’s one that offers a refreshing alternative to the distinctly ‘indie’ ethos that some other licensing services are known for.
How have you seen creative professionals struggle when it comes to dealing with the logistics of sorting through music licensing issues? In what way specifically does Music Vine ease those difficulties?
We recently held a survey seeking insights and opinions on music licensing from filmmakers around the world. One comment was made frequently: that on some platforms the licensing process can be complex and confusing, and also that the large number of variables determining a license price can make it very hard to know beforehand what the final cost will be. We combated this issue by condensing our licenses into three very simple categories: Web, Broadcast and Film. While the prices of these do vary a little dependent upon the duration of each track, they keep around a similar price point within each license tier. So if you are producing a production that is intended for web distribution, you know for certain that you’ll be paying around the $45 mark, give or take $10 if the track is longer or shorter. Importantly, the simplicity of this structure and pricing makes it much easier for video producers to confidently budget for music within their production (and manage expectations with their own clients), with no nasty surprises down the line when it comes to finalizing the license.
Besides the licensing aspect, are there other ways you feel you’ve eased the logistics associated with finding/securing the right music for a given project?
Making it easy to locate that ‘perfect’ track amongst a catalogue of thousands is a puzzle that we have put a lot of thought into. We know that the task of searching for music can eat up a lot of time for video professionals, so the challenge of improving this is a responsibility we take very seriously. From our collection suggestions on the browse page to the ‘similar music’ sections on each of the track pages, everything about the Music Vine’s layout and interface has been designed with locating the right music in mind.
What level and type of professional is going to get the most out of your offering?
Music Vine was launched with the intention of democratising the licensing of exceptional music and so we have found that it has been embraced by a spectrum of creatives, from hobbyists to international brands and even Hollywood movies. Those brands and professionals who seek out the very finest music for their work will find Music Vine to be an invaluable resource, while those who work on projects of smaller budgets will find that Music Vine provides access to a caliber of music that would have previously been far too expensive.
Tell us a little bit about your collections. How are those created and organized?
We’re glad you asked about these, our curated collections are something we’re particularly passionate about! Collections are great for the simple reason that they’re made by real people (i.e us!), with a lot of care and effort. We choose the collections we create very carefully – each one is geared specifically toward a theme in video production and this is something that can make them a more useful means of discovering music than the traditional ‘genre’ and ‘mood’ filters. Collections are updated regularly to ensure they remain fresh and showcase the latest relevant additions.
Your free Suggestion Service sounds like the perfect thing for a busy professional who needs to find the right music, but doesn’t have the time to find it. Was that the reason it was created?
We created this free service for the simple reason that we wanted to be able to offer help to those who may be short on time to search for music, or who may be struggling to find a particular type of track. Our team spend a long time curating and updating our catalogue, so we’ve come to know it like the back of our hand – we figured that there would be no better way to put this knowledge to good use than to make a helpful service available to our users.
What can you tell us about the process to become an artist on your site?
The process of applying to become an artist is straightforward, however our quality requirements are rigorous! An interested musician can apply by simply completing the Artist Application Form on the Music Vine site and they will then be added to list of applicants reviewed once per month. We gauge the suitability of an artist against 6 criteria: overall production execution, musicianship, instrument/sample quality, arrangement coherence, emotiveness and commercial relevance. If the artist scores sufficiently in all of these fronts then we will invite them to join Music Vine.
How do you see your service evolving in the short and long term?
We recently received significant investment which we are using exclusively to rebuild the Music Vine platform from the ground-up. We’re hoping for a Summer/Autumn 2017 launch of the new site which will bring a huge array of improvements across the board including a much broader and more powerful filtration system, a refreshed contemporary aesthetic and a very advanced algorithm for putting the most relevant tracks in front of users (we’re particularly excited about that one!). We are a young company but are already being recognized as one of the leaders in the music licensing industry – we intend to continue listening carefully to the video professionals who use our service and to constantly refine our platform and catalogue. Within the next 2 years, we’re passionate about becoming the world’s go-to resource for licensing high-end music at an affordable price point.
More than anything else, what’s the one thing you want video professionals to know about Music Vine and how it can impact video professionals who need to find the right music for their project?
If I could tell you only one thing about Music Vine, I’d say that as a platform and as a company we don’t just value craftsmanship and diversity in creative work, we celebrate it. Music Vine is fueled by this deep care and enjoyment for all aspects of the work we’re involved in: music, video and UX design. It goes without saying that video production is an art; so we believe that in order to create a truly valuable and forward-thinking resource for video producers, the same level of passion and attention to detail is needed. Music Vine brings this in bucket loads!
Ready to try out Music Vine? Get 20% off your first license purchase with discount code: PROVIDEOCO20