Wallmart’s DRM-Free Music Store and AudioMicro Licensing Mantra

Let’s start out by giving credit where credit is due. We’re neither professional writers nor “news breakers” over here at AudioMicro and we reach out to other outlets from time to time for stories. We first read about this “Wallmark DRM-Free Store-y” on TechCrunch.com, a fabulous tech news site that AudioMicro predicts will be acquired within the next 2 years by CBS Interactive or FOX Interactive for $50 million plus. Word on the street is that TechCrunch’s revenues aren’t huge (less than $5 million and we have no idea if that’s accurate or not) but if they can venture more into the tech trade show business on the side, they can get the top line to rise and thereby a better valuation. We certainly hope so.

So anyway, we learned that Wallmart has ditched it’s DRM music store in favor or a DRM Free music store. Now that’s a step in the right direction. The DRM model seems to be dying but Apple is able to hold onto it as they have a stranglehold on the personal use market. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see outlets like WallMart licensing music. Wallmart.com is one of the top 25 most trafficked websites in the world. The site gets over 27 million monthly unique visitors and channeling that traffic to a digital goods store make a lot of business sense.

From time to time, from a few select parties, AudioMicro has been criticized for it’s pricing model. How can you sell a sync license for $1 a minute for general use when other outlets charge $20 a track? Please explain.

The answer comes down to fundamentals of retail pricing. Why does “The Gap” sell clothing made at the same factory, with the same material for $250 at Banana Republic and $10 at Old Navy? Because certain consumers just don’t shop at Banana Republic because they just want a simple T-shirt and not the designer version with the designer price tag. It all comes down to consumer purchasing behavior. We believe strongly that the AudioMicro material is used primarily in online creative audio-visual projects and that they purchasers of the designer material are not turning to AudioMicro to place work on network television.

We closely monitor the sales transactions coming through today they are PayPal receipts from “ABC[at]GMAIL.com” and “ABC[at]HOTMAIL.com” and not George.Lucas[at]LucasFilm.com. Simply put, what we mean is that the high end of the commercial music licensing market is not going anywhere and the traditional production libraries and publishers should view this platform as a positive opportunity. Every micro stock music sale is not a lost customer for a traditional library. We are not making light of the music licensing industry by simply undercutting the larger, established libraries. What we are doing is getting exposure for unknown, unsigned artists by placing their work in creative audiovisual projects that are produced by every day consumers on shoestring budgets.

If consumers do not have an outlet where they can get easy access to affordable, pre-cleared music for creative projects, there are two major implications:

1. the customer will simply not use music for their projects,

2. they will make unauthorized use of the content that they have purchased (or illegally downloaded) for personal use

Micro stock music opens up commercial music licensing to the masses and offers an affordable, easy solution for licensing music for use in audio-visual media. There are approximately 10 videos uploaded to YouTube every second. Everyone with a cell phone is a producer. With so much video content circulating the web today, it’s only natural that a platform for clearing and licensing music, royalty free sound effects, and production elements to accompany these videos (and any video project, not just YouTube) will emerge and thrive.

Some General iTunes mp3 conversion instructions to prevent file corruption

Here are some general iTunes .mp3 conversion instructions to prevent file corruption.

Make sure that you are exporting your mix as an audio .aif file
at 44.1 and 16bit  (CD standard)

(Higher resolutions also work 24 bit 48khz for example and on up!)

after you obtain this file , open it in itunes and set the itunes
Preferences-Advanced-Importing (selection button )
to mp3 192 -stereo  (or higher to 320 stereo)
then press ok.

Preferences-Advanced-General show where the export file will be placed
and can be changed to a preferred location

Now, put the aif file in a new playlist (drag and drop)
and select/highlight the file in the playlist you wish to convert

and go to the Pull Down Menu ADVANCED and choose Convert to MP3

Your file will be in a user file folder from itunes.  I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

-Rick Keller, AudioMicro Music Supervisor

The Foo Fighters tell Presidential Candiate to Stop Using “My Hero”

Grammy Winning Rock Group, The Foo Fighters have sent a demand notice to Republican presidential nominee John McCain requesting that his campaign stop using the band’s popular rock balad “My Hero” as part of the candidates promotional efforts.  Aparently, this is not the first time the candidates (on both sides) have been asked to stop using a particular song to promote their efforts.  The campaign states that they song was appropriately cleared for use and that they respect the musical copyrights.

This situation gives rise to an interesting dilemma – legality aside (i.e. regardless of who is legally right or wrong in this case – and assuming the song was appropriately cleared), what rights to the artist’s have to control the ways in which their content is performed by the end user, after the fact?

There is a fine trade off between licesing your content for a monetary fee and having your work used in a manner that you do not condone.  If one side outweighs the other, meaning that if the damages you will suffer from misuse of the material outweight the financial benefits you receive from licensing the content, artist’s must be sure to be comfortable with the end user license agreements (aka the Download Agreement / EULA / Content License Agreement) of the library with which you place your work.   At the same time, the artist has a right to control distribution of their material.   Is there an solution to remedy a situation like this?