AudioMicro Supplies Microsoft® Office 2010 with Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects

We are excited to announce today a licensing and distribution deal with Microsoft® Office 2010. Microsoft® Office users are able to select from a hand picked collection of over 1,500 royalty free music and sound effects tracks from the AudioMicro collection for use with any Microsoft® Office project. Users can access the new collection at Office.com. Having built AudioMicro with exactly these types of users in mind, we couldn’t be happier about the partnership and we hope that Microsoft Office users have plenty of reason to be happy to0. 🙂

The royalty free sound effects offering include files from our friends at The Hollywood Edge sound effects library created by the many Academy Award-winning sound editors of Soundelux®, whose credits include such films as Unstoppable, Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum and Braveheart. The Hollywood Edge and Soundelux are part of CSS Studios, LLC ®.

CSS Studios, LLC ® is a wholly owned subsidiary of Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 180 countries.  CSS Studios provides creative services to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and interactive producers.  CSS’ services are marketed under the brand names Todd-AO®, Sound One, Soundelux®, POP Sound®, Modern Music, Soundelux Design Music Group and The Hollywood Edge, with facilities in Los Angeles and New York  With more than 50 years of experience in providing creative sound services and technical solutions, the companies, collectively, have garnered more than 50 Academy Award nominations and won 26 Academy Awards®.

TechCrunch Readers – Receive 3 Free Download Credits

TechCrunch readers are in for a special treat today.  In response to YouTube’s muting of millions of videos containing unauthorized music from the major record labels, AudioMicro will be giving away complimentary download credits to new customer registrations from readers of TechCrunch, including those affected by YouTube’s silencing.

To raise awareness about the benefits of royalty free music licensing, readers of this particular post are in for a treat: the first 100 readers to sign up for an account at AudioMicro will receive to 3 free download credits, a $15 value.  Simply register for an AudioMicro account and send us an email at audiomicro@audiomicro.com titled “TechCrunch” and reference your AudioMicro user name in the body of the email and we’ll place the 3 complimentary downloadcredits into your account.

YouTube videos across the web were spontaneously muted last week in response to take down requests from major record labels, including Warner Music Group. Millions of videos were silenced, as the creators had not secured synch licenses to place the music into their productions. Stock music libraries such as AudioMicro serve to bridge the gap between unauthorized use and traditionally burdensome rights negotiations, allowing video producers to download music for use in any creative project, with prices as little as $1 per track, depending on the size of the credit package you purchase.

Royalty Rates for Various Types of Music Licensing

AudioMicro presently pays 50% of all cash received back to it’s artists on a monthly basis.  For comparison purposes, we will list the royalty percentages and payout patterns for various other types of music licensing:

  1. For iTunes like downloads from digital music stores – including iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Walmart, etc. the artist typically receives a 10% royalty.  But wait a minute, this 10% comes from the net amount received by the record label.  Record labels typically receive around 70 to 60 cents from each 99 cent download, thereby leaving the artists with only 7 to 6 cents per iTunes sales.  
  2. For ring tones, artists typically receives 10% of the amount received by the record label.  For instance, if a ring tone costs $1, the record label will received around 50 cents and the artist will receive around 5 cents.  For a standard recording contract, the artist typically nets 10% of what the record label receives. 
  3. For Audio streaming services like Pandora, and Project Playlist, as well as video streaming services where advertisements are displayed along with the music streaming, the amount that gets paid to the artist is still in negotiation, and not yet set.  In short, the artist can expect to also receive 10% of the net revenues received by their record label, for their pro-rated portion of the streams.  The interesting thing to note in regards to music streaming services and satellite radio (Sirius and XM being the largest) is that the record label and the artist are paid by a government sponsored entity known as Sound Exchange.  In contrast to traditional radio, the royalties are paid not to composers and publishers but to the performers (artsts) and the copyright holders (typically the record label).

Michael Arrington re-states his position that “music will be free”

TechCrunch founder and CEO Michael Arrington, a top web writer, debater, and all things startup, wrote a nice post about 360 music deals this week.  Towards the end of the post he goes on to restate a position he has been advocating for well over a year now, that “Recorded Music will be Free“.  The year old post links to other bloggers that take contrary opinions of his post, including Paul Glazowski of Profy.com.

Mr. Arrington may be right in his position, he may not be.  Nevertheless, it’s a position worth debating.  For clarifcation, AudioMicro interprets Arrington’s prediction to be that “music will be totally free for everyone to download and use in a personal manner but that it will be supported through an advertising model”.  This is an interesting opinion, we think he’s “partially right”.  Now, let’s give him due credit – Michael Arrington is a very wise man and not a single thing we can say or ever will say will be a better opinion that his.  He is a master debater, attorney, and phenominal writer and he has undoubtedly built a media empire over at TechCrunch – we are avid readers of the site and it’s biased, yet well founded opinions.  That being said, AudioMicro shall attempt to break down Mr. Arrington’s opinion by offering some biased points of our own.

For the past 12 years or so, music has already been free (free if you want to “steal” it, that is).  Therefore, the notion that music “will be free” seems to be stating the obvious.  Anyone with half a brain and an internet connection for the past 12 years has been able to get any song and any album from the file sharing services and this rapid theft shows no slowdown as services like BitTorrent are more popular than ever.

Just as music is already free to those who choose to steal is, so is every single other type of digital content, including software, photography, movies, books, and journalism.  If it’s not free through outright piracy, the content is free through a promotion, trial, hack, torrent, or business model (e.g. a startup company that has realized that they can take market share – aka shrink markets – by offering content for free where the larger, more established players make you pay for it).

Journalism (aka “The News”) is already free, on the internet at least.  Nobody in their right mind should pay to read internet news / blogs and nobody does pay for these services (at least nobody under age 40 that’s aware of “free content”).  News outlets simply offer a product for free (news and opinions and quite oftern opinions disguised as news) and then sell advertising across the content to support the business.  Perhaps it is just plain obvious that a blogger would advocate that music should “really be free, yet ad supported” is because that is the model that they already operate their businesses under – giving the content away for free and slapping advertising all over it.

So why do people pay for still pay for content when it’s already free and the ramifications of copyright infringement are so small and unenforcable to outweigh the benefits of saving money and getting the product you desire?  Why is the photography licensing industry a $2 billion industry if photos are free through creative commons licenses?  How does Warner Music Group (WMG), even in an awful stock market, maintain a market capitalization of $571 million (as of the time of this post)?  How is this possible if WMG is doomed to be a “musical advertisement”.  Clearly, people still do pay for music and they will continue to pay for music, but why?

When it comes to personal use music, AudioMicro feels that Arrington is certainly onto something; however, when it comes to commercial use, we know that people are paying for music, and appropriately securing synchronization rights for music used in their audio-visual projects.  Sync licensing is the nature of our business here at AudioMicro, and we continue to see increased revenues from the licensing of music for commercial use.  Performance and Synchronization are the two areas that seem to be immune to any attack of “free music”.  AudioMicro is a business built upon the fundamentals that stealing (or making unauthorized use of) digital content is not the right thing to do and that nobody benefits from piracy.

Contrary to personal use music sites that can be ad supported, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to place advertisements within music used for commercial purposes.  You can make television free, yet ad supported by forcing users to watch advertisements and you can even give photos away through ad supported models like PicApp; however, you can not just give music away and run an advertisement over it and you certainly cannot place music containing advertisements into a films, animations, podcasts, websites, or other video productions.  If you are an artist worried about the decline in personal use music revenues as a result of free, yet ad supported music models emerging, we encourage you to join the growing crowd of micro stock music artists here at AudioMicro that are earning cash from sync fees and the attachment of music to a growing variety of visual media.