Scruffy, Indie folk-rock from Transylvania

Licensing Changes For My Music

Posted by admin On September - 9 - 2010 6 COMMENTS

Some of you might have noticed, I recently changed the licensing on both my “Monsters In Rome” record as well as the “Jabulani” song – from the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike to the more restrictive Attribution Non-Commercial license. I have tried for a long time to figure out which option would be best for me, and at the time I did choose the Attribution Share-Alike license over the Non-Commercial one for a good reason, I am now faced with no choice in the matter, but to restrict some aspects of licensing terms. I would like to explain myself in this post.

Before I continue, I would like to point out that ongoing projects will not be affected by the new licensing terms. These terms only apply after September 1st 2010.

Creative Commons is a wonderful thing. I think it’s a great, it’s the perfect tool for the times we live in. Anyway, the CC Attribution Share-Alike license, under which my songs were originally licensed, allowed free distribution and adaptation of the work under the condition of attributing it in the manner specified by me and re-distributing any resulting works under a similar license.
What this means is: you could copy or distribute the work in any way, you could adapt (build upon) the work any way you saw fit as long as you attributed the original author (moi) and you made your resulting works public under the same conditions. This included commercial use as well. I didn’t think this would be a bad idea, because the medium in which all recorded music is tossed around these days is very unclear about some things.
For example: if an mp3 blog were to post one of my tracks, who can decide if that constitutes a commercial or non-commercial use of the song? Truth is, the online medium is constantly evolving. More and more free content is made available while websites and blogs try to find new and more intuitive ways of monetizing their efforts. One can easily see why this gets complicated with a restrictive license, like the Non-commercial one. I didn’t want to get in the way of my music being promoted, it was as simple as that.
So why change licenses now?
Along with the world wide web the music industry – especially the indie music scene – is also rapidly changing. Let’s face it, music is free on the internet. I am sure anyone can download all of my songs without paying for them if they so choose. I am totally clear with that. But there still are some means of making money with your music, asides from selling it to whoever is willing to pay.
That money tree has two major branches – licensing and mechanical rights. While licensing (for use in TV Shows, ads, documentaries, background music for events, websites or whatever) can still be achieved with a non-restrictive CC license, I can’t collect any mechanical royalties, because with all CC licenses that allow commercial use of the work I’d have to waive any such rights. Now if someone would plug one of my songs to a hit TV show (like Grey’s Anatomy or something :P) I would be missing out on a lot of revenue. This is because when a performance rights organization collects mechanical royalties on your behalf, that would count as a super bonus on top of the licensing fee you would get for that feature.
You see, I would have to miss out on all that. Which I wouldn’t really mind… if I could do the licensing work myself. Unfortunately, for this I would have to become an agent – and I’d rather stay a musician – and the people who will be trying to land me such opportunities from now on, will be taking half of my cut. So I decided to keep collecting the mechanical royalties, just to stay afloat. Hope you understand and won’t hold it against me.

On a final note: I am still a reasonable person so don’t fret to drop me a line if you have anything at all to say about this. Would be happy to hear from you. 🙂

Physical CD’s now available (in stop-motion)

Posted by admin On June - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

If you have checked Mojophenia recently you already know that the competition to win 5 copies of the limited edition/signed Monsters In Rome CD has been announced. This would be your first shot to get a copy for free, autographed and everything.
In the meantime physical CD’s also became available on my CdBaby store as well and very soon also here on the site. If you want to help me spread the word about this release feel free to embed the following video wherever you wish and make my day. 🙂

Monsters In Rome stop-motion CD commercial from Indie Folker on Vimeo.