Most people are familiar with all the convoluted rights challenges around owning music they've purchased, but the problem is only extrapolated for those producing music. Many freelance artists join collection societies like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Teosto. These organizations were created for keeping track of licensing, collecting and distributing income from the performance and the duplication of compositions. It makes sense for music creators so they can better monetize their works. But when new innovations like Audiodraft come around, it has added a some friction to getting their audio crowdsourcing platform to be a tool of choice for professionals.
Collection societies exist to give musicians a central organization that will take care of their rights. For example, if a composition is broadcast on TV or radio, the songwriter of that composition is entitled to public performance royalties from the broadcaster. The organizations that collect license fees from broadcasters and distribute these funds back to songwriters in the form of public performance royalties are called performance rights organizations.
AudioDraft has released another model for companies and organizations to purchase original, licensed music, while also rebranding its service. Until now, AudioDraft featured only a crowdsourced contest model where someone could describe the sound they were looking for so musicians and sound designers could compete and enter submissions for a prize pool of money.
In addition to that model, today AudioDraft is releasing an online store for exclusive audio tracks. What sets the store apart from iTunes or some stock music supplier is that each track is sold only once, so if you purchase the music you won't come across it in other projects -- making it perfect for audio branding, advertisements, and games.
It's hard to get on a startup job-board these days without seeing an advertisement for a "rock-star" coder, but the founders of two Helsinki-based startups have taken it to another level. Tommi Koskinen of AudioDraft and Hanna Toivonen of Mukava Music have teamed up to create Phantom, a duo with crisp vocals and a dark electronic sound. The band has now been on stage at SXSW and released its first four track EP on Soundcloud.
Perhaps their most polished track, Scars, started immediately picking up traction after being featured on The XX's Tumblr on Wednesday, leading to a review from Pitchfork and several other music blogs last night. Scars' music video now has around 29 000 views on youtube, and 5 000 plays on Soundcloud, with most hits coming in the last day or so.
Nokia is using Audiodraft's platform to hold contests to create regional ringtones through crowdsourcing. This isn't the first time Nokia has crowd-sourced their ringtone through the Audiodraft platform, but it sends a clear signal that they have been pleased with the past results the contests have generated.
The new contests run by Nokia are to create regional ringtones for China, India, Latin America, South East Asia and Pacific, and Middle East and Africa. The prize fund totals over $37 000, with each winner receiving $1 500. It's not a bad amount of money, and it provides a great opportunity for a sound designers' work to be used on millions of headsets worldwide. The competition runs until 17 April, and the winners will be announced on 24 April.
Before applying for Tekes financing, you need to know how Tekes' money can be used. When you apply for financing, you will meet with your Tekes representative to come up with your own spending plan, which will dictate what you're allowed to spend Tekes' money on. It's been described by the entrepreneurs I've talked to as a flexible enough system as long as you confirm new expenses not included in your plan with your Tekes representative before spending any money. Last month, Elina Arpponen gave an example of not including travel costs in her original plan, but luckily she was able to re-allocate expenses with just an email to her representative.
As mentioned earlier in this series, Tekes doesn't give you money upfront to spend. Tekes reimburses entrepreneurs' receipts that stick to the funding plan laid out with their Tekes representative. But generally speaking, Tekes money can be used for any costs associated to research, development, and innovation activities. These include costs like:
Audiodraft, the Finnish audio crowdsourcing service (and startup by the same name) has landed a major partnership with Nokia to remake the hugely popular Nokia Tune. The most liked tunes on the Audiodraft page are actually very good and I'd seriously be thinking of using one for my iPhone.
Creating customized soundtracks for a brand or a product is not as easy at it seems. You need to find a professional, go through dozens of samples and spend a lot of money and time on it. Audiodraft makes the process a piece of cake: it crowdsources music production to its community of amateur and professional musicians. Their service works through contests: companies that need any type of customized audio file set up a competition on Audiodraft's website with a monetary reward for the winner. An average competition lasts between 2-4 weeks and receives around 50 entries. Since Audiodraft's public beta launch in July 2010, they hosted 42 contest with some well-known Finnish companies like Marimekko, YLE, Microtask, Salomon and GameHouse. This week they are launching their first contest with Nelonen Media, one of Finland's biggest media houses. Nelonen is looking for an audio identity pack for their brand and are cashing out $2,400 for the winning entry.