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Songs confirms Condé Nast alliance over online videos

By | Published on Tuesday 18 June 2013

Songs Publishing

US independent music publisher Songs Music Publishing has entered into an interesting alliance with Condé Nast, which will see the magazine maker use songs represented by SONGS in its titles’ video content.

Although Condé Nast magazines like Vogue, Glamour, GQ and Wired won’t be restricted to only use Songs music in the videos they post to YouTube and elsewhere, the publisher’s catalogue will be prioritised, and the music firm in return will help the magazine people select appropriate tracks. Royalties will then presumably be paid according to the new agreement.

The ins and outs of licensing songs and recordings for inclusion in original videos posted to YouTube are complicated. The Google-owned video site has blanket licences from some labels, publishers and collecting societies in some territories, allowing for any tracks or songs in a rights owners’ catalogue to be used on pre-agreed terms.

However, when and how such licences apply varies from country to country (in the publishing domain, a blanket licence may cover ‘performance’ but not ‘mechanical’ rights), and often said agreements apply to individual users syncing music, but not brands and media. And even where blanket licences exist, rights owners usually can still veto the use of their content on a case-by-case basis if they so wish.

Some start-ups, such as the Peter Gabriel-backed Cue Songs, have capitalised on these complications and created one-stop shops, which make it easier for filmmakers to access music for online syncing (and beyond YouTube where there may be no blanket licences at all). For Condé Nast, the deal with SONGS will provide similar security, while, for the publisher, increasing the usage of its songwriters’ work in the magazine firm’s content.

Discussing his company’s new deal, Songs boss Matt Pincus told Billboard: “There is a new paradigm of high-volume content producers creating entertainment for distribution on YouTube and other online video outlets. This is a huge and growing business that uses lots of music. The traditional music licensing infrastructure does not yet support this kind of content in an organised way. [And] when they do, there is little service provided to them by publishers and labels”.