Fairplay: Ushering music licensing into the 21st Century 📀
Fairplay is a first of its kind, music platform for hassle-free sync music licensing in India.
Hi, Ravdeep here. 👋
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Before I begin with this newsletter issue, I just want to give you all a little bit of info about where I have been for the last 10 months. As much as I wanted to write the newsletter, Fairplay needed my maximum attention which is what this issue is about. I currently have 15 or so unfinished newsletter issues ranging from music to gaming to even the cursed ‘C’ word crypto, but I just wanted to get this out the door before I continued with those. The product is still in ‘early access’ but we had a great soft launch presenting on the main stage at All About Music, which is the only music business dedicated conference that happens in India.
Overall, I can’t even express how excited I am about the prospects of the space we’ve set out to foray into and very proud of how the product has shaped up.
Now, let me tell you a bit about Fairplay and the problem that we are solving:
What is Music Licensing? 🤔
First, let’s start with the basics. Simply put, a music licence is when a copyright holder grants the right to use his or her work publicly, and in return receives payment via a flat fee and/or royalties based on an agreed contract. The process of granting this licence is called music licensing.
Now, let’s talk about the kind of music licensing that Fairplay specialises in - Synchronisation Licensing.
Frequently called a sync licence, this is for use with visual media, such as TV shows, film, commercials, news segments, video games and more. A licence fee can be determined by how the song will be used, where it will be played, anticipated exposure, experience, and any other royalty rate.
Frequently called a sync licence, this particular type of licence is for using music with visual media such as films, commercials, TV shows, video games, trailers and more. The fee for such kind of a licence is determined by the context in which the song will be used, where it will be played, anticipated exposure, duration, occurrence and territory where it will be used. In short, it is definitely not an easy task!
Quick, easy and accessible 📀
Right now, the sync licensing process in India is exhausting. Identifying a particular piece of music that fits perfectly with the mood of a given piece of content in one part of the puzzle. The more challenging, complex and often frustrating part of that process is to track down the owner of that music, explain your desired use of their music, extensively negotiate a licence, make corresponding payments, obtain the desired files and the act of actually being able to synchronise that particular piece of music to your content. Every single time music is synchronised/used along with a visual piece of content (yes, including web-series that incorporate music in various scenes, youtube videos, fitness apps with instructional videos, cooking channels with music in the background, the list goes on), it needs to be “cleared” - in other words, it needs a synchronisation licence.
This entire process takes place offline, involves hundreds of emails and often takes weeks, even months before a licence is arrived at. On the other hand, artists are not well-versed with licensing as a revenue stream and those who are, do not know where to begin.
It is this gap in the industry that we’re hoping to plug with Fairplay - making it a fair playing field for all licensors and licensees of music. We’re a first of its kind, music platform for hassle-free sync music licensing in India.
Through the platform, music can be readily classified into genres, moods, themes to match with a piece of content and once a user identifies what artist or piece of music fits their content best, they can use our simple licensing flow to proceed with obtaining a sync licence. It’s that simple!
A team that is invested in making a fairer playing field for all 🤝
Over the course of the last few years, I (Ravdeep Anand) have personally worked with numerous independent artists through the music marketing agency I used to run, working at the grassroots level of the industry, aiding and supporting independent musicians to earn better, to be treated fairly and keep making quality music.
Priyanka Khimani, who has advised and guided Fairplay from the ground up and is on the board of directors, is regarded as one of India’s leading entertainment, music and intellectual property rights experts. With her extensive experience, she would often be brought in by overwhelmed clients (right from social media platforms, to production houses or OTT platforms) to fix unresolved sync music licences. In her experience of stepping in and negotiating sync licences, right from single usage or multi-territory multiple use licences, she realised that the issues which led to a breakdown in negotiations, were almost always the same.
We believe most artists in India earn revenue through two active streams - live performances and music streaming. Working with musicians, we quickly figured that sync licensing was a completely new passive revenue stream that potentially had the power to make a huge difference in these musician’s lives and could earn them money using their already existing music catalogue.
What are we up to now? 🔥
We’re currently working with a set of closed beta participants on both sides of the equation to gather more feedback before we make the platform accessible to the public. We want to build our company alongside our artists and stakeholders. Our goal is to create and share relevant educational content, resources, best practices and insights into the music industry so that musicians and customers can grow and scale their careers in parallel to us.
We’re striving to create community where musicians can get together in a unified place, learn and share best practices, get inspired while building their careers!
You can request early access to our beta here.
You can submit your music to Fairplay here.
Subscribe to Fairplay’s newsletter here.
Join our team! ☀️
Join us on our mission to empower the musicians and the music industry of tomorrow. We are looking for founding team members who have the desire to roll up their sleeves, make critical decisions and help us shape Fairplay. We’re hiring for software engineers, growth roles and interns who want a taste of the music x tech industry!
If you want to get a front row seat to the future of the music industry and also want to empower musicians to make a fair living with their passion, apply here.
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