Hello AudioJungle community (and others who want to join the discussion)! This is my first post, and I apologize but it’s looking to be a doozie.
I’m new to AJ (first two songs for sale, two more in review!), and as I’m sure many of you have gone through, I scoured the web looking at the best resources and possibilities for getting my sound and music out into the commercial realm. Through my search, and also from reading a few other forum posts here, I’ve made some observations and come to some (open) conclusions that struck me as rather interesting and so I’d thought I’d share, and see what others have to say about the topic of how to best/properly license sound and music.
Apparently, there is some real heated competition (maybe even bad feelings?) out there between some of these marketplaces, particularly looking at stock music, versus royalty free, versus unlimited licensing (i.e. loop kits). There are of course a lot of different factors that would make you lean one way or the other, primarily what kind of content you are really trying to sell.
One of the main points of contention of course is the money and fees. Artist/marketplace cut aside, I think the basic gist is that the artists want to get paid decently and fairly for their creative efforts, and of course customers want the best (cheapest?) deals available. I know AJ’s price points and price sharing have (and will continue) to evolve, but I’ve come across the argument that prices here are too high compared to other royalty free sites, as well as conflicting remarks that the prices are too low, even to the point of devaluing the artistic community. Here’s a pretty sharp statement from AudioSparx, a stock music/sound site that is royalty based:
“AudioSparx does not accept any artists whose music tracks are participating in or for sale at any of the web sites or programs listed here below. We believe these sites devalue the music industry and do a major disservice to creative music artists by excessively discounting music pricing on a regular on-going basis. Consequently, we do not wish to associate ourselves with artists who sell music on these sites and thereby assist in this devaluation of the industry…”
It goes on to list about a dozen sound/music sites, including AudioJungle. Yet I find it interesting that AudioSparx’s typical licensing fees are around $60-$90 , which isn’t too far off from AJ’s current extended license for a song ($70). I guess there’s maybe more to it with the whole royalty earnings scheme, but I take it you have to go through something like ASCAP in order to actually collect.
Personally, I was drawn to AJ over any other site for a number of reasons, a few of which are the attention to aesthetics, marketplace, and community. AJ is just a really frickin good looking site, sleek, easy to navigate, and if I were a client looking for sound/music I would be more inclined to buy here over many of those other sites, including AudioSparx which seems to me to be a bit of a mess (at least outwardly). I do think the quality of the site reflects the quality of content (I’m sure there are other great tunes on other sites), certainly from a marketing point of view, and definitely from the songs and artists I initially scoped out here.
I admit, I was at first a bit taken aback when I came across the AudioSparx statement. Was I doing something (perhaps even ethically) wrong?? But after looking at the issue from many sides, and reading some of the great posts by the AJ mods and staff as well as learning more about the whole Envato community, it seems to me that there are really just two really different models and mindsets at work here.
Sites like AudioSparx seem to be of the more old-school, big music publisher point of view, yet as we all know the music industry is going through some major changes and perhaps their model isn’t quite relevant in this day and age. For all the arguments against more accessible (better word?) sites like AJ, perhaps it’s really not going to devalue the industry more so as revolutionize it. I’m sure many more people and small companies are willing and able to buy music and sound thanks to AJ (as well as artists share it) without the potential headache of dealing with royalty companies and big business.
It strikes me that AJ has something unique here with the whole Envato community, and the AJ model clearly is influenced from the way they also handle the artist marketplaces providing graphics, video, code, and more. I don’t think the traditional music industry model has taken into account the availability and accessibility of general media these days, and the fact that it’s not just big broadcasting companies that have an immediate need for quality, creative content. Further, I’m sure we all can agree the code, graphics, and media in the rest of the Envato marketplaces takes every bit of creativity and effort as music, yet I doubt we’ll see any ASCAP -like organization pop up for wordpress templates (...there isn’t one, is there??). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to dismiss the royalty model, heck I’d love to have checks keep showing up at my door. Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid in perpetuity whenever people visit a website sporting a theme you designed? Yet, clearly, the royalty model is not the only one that works.
On the other hand, perhaps AJ will end up serving as a stepping stone into the royalty arena. The one other potential concern I have with this model, is how you would enforce the licenses. Do customers really buy the extended licenses (where applicable), or is their sale suspiciously low? Does AJ do any policing/monitoring of this? I expect that like any digital technology/media these days, it is ultimately at the mercy of the honor system, however hard you try. It sounds like a stressful, nearly futile endeavor, and I’m not a stressful guy. Perhaps better effort is therefore spent attracting honorable customers! Not that the current ones aren’t…
I would be very curious to know if any of you have had experience in the area of royalties, perhaps used a service like AudioSparx, maybe belong(ed) to ASCAP , and could weigh in on your own experiences and evaluation of these models. Maybe you’ve tried other models out there I have not even come across. How well is the AJ model is working out for you personally, and for mods and staff out there, for AudioJungle itself? Of course, the best test is that of time, so we’ll all see for ourselves one way or another!
Thanks for your collective thoughts