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Universal Music allies with Lickd

By | Published on Tuesday 16 June 2020


Lickd, the company that aims to make it easier for creators on platforms like YouTube to use commercially released music in their videos, has formally announced its partnership with Universal Music. The deal with the major involves both recordings and publishing, and will make a stack of music available to creators on YouTube.

The Lickd business model seeks to change the relationship between the music industry and the grassroots creators who post videos to platforms like YouTube.

Currently, if a user-generated content or social media platform has licensing deals with the music industry, creators that use commercially released music in their videos maybe covered by those licences. Once the music has been identified, the platform puts advertising alongside the video and shares the ad income with the music rights owners. But it’s not a perfect system for either party.

First the music used needs to be identified, then the owners of that music need to claim ownership and finally the platform needs to sell some advertising. For the video-maker, there’s always a risk a music copyright owner will block rather than monetise their video, plus they probably want to monetise their content themselves and take a cut of any ad income the platform generates.

From the video-maker’s perspective, one solution is to use production or library music rather than commercially released music – preferably from a library like Epidemic Sound that is able to offer a one-stop-shop all-rights-covered licence for a set usage fee or subscription price. That means their video won’t be impacted by any one platform’s music rights management system.

But that’s lost income to record labels and music publishers. To that end Lickd has developed a platform that offers video-makers a production music library style licensing experience, but with commercially released music. Achieving that means navigating all the complexities of music rights, ensuring that all the relevant elements of both the recording and song copyrights are cleared before allowing any video-maker to utilise any one track.

Obviously deals that bring large catalogues of recordings or songs to the table really help with that process. With the Universal partnership, Lickd will be able to start making available recordings from the major’s labels where it already has the song rights covered. Meanwhile, Universal Music Publishing including some of its song repertoires in the deal will help with getting all the rights covered for songs well beyond the major’s own label catalogues.

Lickd says that by “facilitating a streamlined path through the rights landscape”, the Universal partnership “extends creativity for YouTubers and ensures new and established artists reach the highly engaged audiences of some of the world’s most active creators”.

Lickd CEO Paul Sampson adds: “Partnering with [Universal Music] represents a huge step forward in the creation of a streamlined path for social content creators to access pre-cleared commercial music. This is one of many positive moves helping to craft a more artist, songwriter and creator-friendly world comprising of fair compensation and affordable licensing. This collaborative partnership will undoubtedly deliver new ways for creators and musicians to actively engage with fans globally”.

Speaking for the Universal side, the major’s SVP Digital Strategy And Business Development, James Healy, says: “We’re delighted to enter into a partnership with Lickd at a time when user-generated content is experiencing exponential growth and music remains the number one passion point for many globally. UMG recognises that by embracing and connecting these creative forces, our artists, their fans, who themselves are content creators and today’s social content creators, we are enabling an environment of deeper collaboration and discovery, under a scalable model”.