Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 131 · 4 months ago

131 Music Rights, Copyright Claims, and YouTube with Audrey Marshall


Imagine you're making a video to share with the world. You've found the PERFECT song for it, one that'll get everyone's toes tapping and praising your musical knowledge. Only there's one problem: you didn't get the proper rights to use the song, and now your video has been taken down.

Thematic co-founder Audrey Marshall started her company to help creators and artists alike navigate this tricky world of music rights. And she's dropping all kinds of wisdom for you to maximize your creative endeavors, whether you're on the creator or musician side.

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Good people cool things as a condcast feature and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. Get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing, and here's your host, Joey held. Welcome to good people, cool things. Today's guest is Audrey Marshall, the CO founder and CEO of thematic, a collaborative platform where creators can license royalty free music from their favorite music artists in exchange for promotion. No more copyright claims on Youtube, nor more. Hey, this videos blocked in your country. You can't watch it. Hey, you wanted to enjoy your friends weekly news show they post on Youtube, but they're using music that they don't have license for. I'M NOT gonna be able to do that. So we're talking about why it's important to get music cleared, how creators and musicians can work together to create a perfect harmony. It's the little music term there. You like it, you like it. We're also talking about some top artists to check out. Audrey. It's very much into youtube, into hearing new artists, all of that good stuff. She's talking about some of the INS and outs you should be considering if your content creator, if you're a music artist, if you're anything in between, as well as what the future of content creation is going to look like, because there's some interesting stuff already starting to happen and way more cool things going on down the line. We're talking about it all and it's fantastic. If you'd like to get in touch with the show, you can reach out on facebook, twitter or instagram at GPC t podcast. Even better, sign up for the newsletter. Just go to good people, cool things dot com. Sign up for the newsletter. There's a little pop up box POPs something. You can just go on the page, on any episode page. Sign up for the newsletter. Super Simple, and then you get things delivered to your inbox. Tips, resources, tools, Shennanigans, all of those right into your inbox at a less than alarming paste, just a couple of times a month. I'm not trying to overwhelm me, I'm not trying to bombard you, I'm just trying to give you the good stuff, like this conversation with Audrey. For people who might not be familiar with you and thematic can you give us your name and your elevator pitch, but also the type of elevator that we're writing on? Absolutely my name is Audrey Marshall on the CO founder and CEO of a platform called thematic. Thematic is a collaborative platform where video creators can license songs from independent music artists in exchange for promotion, and that way the music artists are able to get their latest songs promoted by influencers, driving new music discovery opportunities. Um, I would say the elevator we're in. I don't know what it looks like, but it's definitely a creative elevator where maybe there's different floors of creatives, like video creators, editors, artists, musicians, and they're all meeting in this elevator and having great connections and conversation. So that's where I think my elevator would be. I like it. I like it. I feel like I've gotten a lot of glass elevators lately, so I like this like Nice networking, like we've got a nice group of people on this elevator. And we were talking beforehand how I always like to ask a question that you wish you were asked more frequently, and typically we bury this way in the episode after we've been talking. But I think you know there's so many ways to share music you know, people are posting on instagram. I feel like every time I log into anything, someone has shared a Tiktok with me, even though I don't have Tiktok, but it's got a song, it's you know, it's featuring an artist. Streamers any show really like on Netflix, like there's so many ways you can get it. I could list a lot of them, but that would be a terrible episode. So why should people care about clearing music for their content? Sure, I think there's a few ways to approach this. It's a matter of you always want to respect someone's copyright, where you want to make sure you're doing things the right way. Someone put a lot of time and energy into making their work and you know you want to go through the right channels to make sure that's respected. But as a creator clearing music, it could really hurt you you don't do it right. So it can hurt... in terms of time lost or monetization opportunities. So if you look at it from the sense of like Hey, I'm just creating a video from my friends, I'm going to use this trending song, I love it, I'm gonna put it on Youtube or instagram. Don't intend to monetize it, but you are still at the mercy of what the song owner or the record label wants to do with it. So if their policy at the time is monetized, that's your best hope policy, like, Hey, they're gonna let your video be fine on the Internet, but they're going to put ads on it, which is Great, fine and Dandy, but that's not always the case. They could essentially being like, hey, we don't like your video, we're gonna Block it, or we're not gonna make it available in certain territories or you know what, we're removing this song from the Internet. Let's take down your video. So like this amazing video you've created is essentially just gone in the work you put into it is taken away from you. So it's just like a bad energy and vibe of like you know you're wasting your time. You could have just done this the right way. There's means and avenues to clear music very easily for creators. And then say you are a monetized creator, you hope to build a business, you hope to one day monetize your videos. So in the beginning you know you have to go through certain steps, especially on Youtube, to earn partners status and to gain monetization for your videos. So, say, your first two videos you're like, I don't need whatever, I don't care, I can't monetize anyways. As a creator, you should be setting yourself up for like a long term business success. So, like, say you all of a sudden are the hottest creator in the space. You used uncleared music in your first video because you didn't care at the time. Then all of a sudden, like that's your most ube video and you can't, you still can't, monetize it. Right, you're at the mercy of the rights holder. So it's just in your best interests to always clear the music and then make sure you're covered and your time hasn't wasted and you're not losing out on any money. I think I first learned about this, and I want to say like like early youtube days, of like two thousand and two eight and I remember it was I had used a song in a video and then it got blocked everywhere except Germany of all places. So Germany, super popular. I was doing great, and then it like it flip flopped somehow, so it was everywhere except Germany, and I was like that's so weird that it reversed like that, but that was kind of like my introduction to clearing music as a thing even. And so how did you get into this space? Did you had you always been aware of this, or did you kind of stumble upon it too? It's such an interesting I never thought I would be doing this, but I started in college. I was interning for one of my favorite artists, Amy Cooney, who now goes by the moniker aims Um. I was a huge fan of hers. I reached out to her independent record label. I was like, I want to help support this artist, I want I want to be involved, and they're like great this, come on board, we're going to release an album. This was like two eight and so I was just like fresh out of college, Super Hungry for it. And we realized the digital means of how to promote music, like youtube starting to really be a platform, and we started working with influencers like beauty icon, Michelle Fon, who needed music for her videos, and we're like, well, we have this great artist over here and like this is one of a few we can give you and then make it a win win for both of you, where you know this artist gets their song featured and promoted by to your large audience and then she gets safe and cleared music for our videos. So we're like, great, let's test this out, let's do this Um and really just started doing it in a manual capacity for a handful of music artists and video creators. Um It was around two thousand and eleven we got our hands on one of Youtube's first music label, Um content owners, or cms, where you can manage your music rights on Youtube. So it was just kind of I threw myself in the space and really just started like clicking around, learning like how do we do this? How do we manage this, and just working with it over the past decade of learning, you know, what does this mean? How does this impact a creator? How do we protect this for them... an artist and getting them the bigger nuances of music rights, especially on Youtube, and the intricacies of how it affects both the rights holder and the video graders. has there been something in particular over those ten years that has surprised you or been more of a challenge than you thought it would be? I think it's always, you know, there's nothing that's uh, totally flabbergasted me, but it's usually like, you know, I feel like I spent so much time on Youtube or I'm such a Geek about it. We're all noticed when they like change their flat. I'm like this is different and like nobody else from the world would notice that. I was like they changed this word from this to that, and it's like the littlest thing. But I'm so tuned into like how it is because I check it constantly. I'm in back into Youtube and I'm just like Oh, and it's interesting to look, you know, back along the years of how the interface has changed in terms of even just on the user end of Youtube, of like, oh my gosh, it used to be so like blocky and clinky and now it's all sleek, or back when you could like future videos or customize your youtube channel like a whull myspace takeover. I'm like, obviously, you know, it's good retrovibes looking back, but it's uh, definitely been an evolution. Yeah, I've just been helping a client poorts some videos over from video to youtube and I hadn't uploaded videos on Youtube and probably, I don't know, three or four years, and I was just like, Oh, this is this is so extensive. Now there's so much more that goes into even just uploading one video, like and then within your channel there's a ton too, so that's some more options. Yeah, absolutely, it's Bananas Wild Times. This this is a fun trivia do you know what the first Youtube video is? If you were a at the zoo? Yes, very good, very good, I didn't know that. I think I would get kicked out. It would be like you're done, like you can't touch this anymore. I was gonna say you're probably the most knowledgeable youtube person that I've interviewed. So I would hope that you you're like your house is done. Like close the interview. It's over now. You talked a little bit about how creators from the get go need to be focusing on this so that it's not like a retroactive sort of like, oh, I screwed the pooch. Never say that term. I don't know why that that came out there, but just so they so they don't, you know, hurt themselves later down the line. Is there something from the artist's perspective that they might be overlooking around digital rights management or something that they should nail down early on? Totally. Yeah, so I think there is a huge education gap, especially for music artists who are distributing music and don't really have an understanding of how music rights work, necessarily on platforms such as YouTube. So they they've heard the term content idea before, they've heard the term copyright claims, like there's connotations around what that means. It's scary, it's bad. You know the perceptions of the industry about what it all means, but it's surprising how many independent music artists and even music managers don't understand the infrastruct sure of what's going on behind the scenes and how it can be helpful to help manage their rights in terms of getting their music out there, protecting their channel and like controlling just what's going on. Um, you know, US independent music artists are primarily using distribution platforms like district kid or tune core to get their music on platforms like itunes, spotify, apple music, you name it, and then, as part of that, they're able to opt their music into content idea on youtube. But then it's usually scary when, three days later, their own music video gets a copyright claim and they're just like losing their mind, being like why this is. I don't understand and I'm like, you have to put it on the allow list. There's an infrastructure, there's a way to approach this or what the royalties are like. They don't really have visibility into the back end of how it's managed and I think there could be a lot more, more education resources of how this is explained to them and like how it's working in their favor or what it means to release a claim versus allow us to channel and,... know, what is the nuance between that? What's the long term consequence of that for the music artist or whoever they're giving permission to? So we're hopefully, you know, thematic we are. We're talking with a lot of these artists, we're talking with a lot of the managers to really give them a deeper understanding of what it means. You know, this is how you can better understand it, and then giving them more power, because then when they're making deals or signing label, you know, deals, and picking a distributor, they're able to find the one that best matches their long term goals based on having a better understanding of like, Oh, if I do this type of opt in on this platform, this is what I can expect to happen and they know how to ask the right questions if they need to get a claim release or if they need to opt something out of content. I D can I ask what the difference is between content? So I'M gonna break it down super simple. So on Youtube there are pieces of I p, so things that a movie, TV episode, a sound recording, which is a song, an audio visual piece of content in the back end of Youtube that's referred to as an asset. So it's just a mechanism for digital yeah, I p. and then there's a user video, right. So if the user video contains that asset, so this user video of Youtube video contains this sound recording of a music artist, the association between the two Youtube Creates. There is a claim. That happens. So a claim goes on the user video, like Hey, content idea found this song and this user video it can receive a claim for the copyright. Copyright claim right, so as an actual claim on a video. So if you released the claim, you you unlock the connection and there's a history of it and that claim should stay released until some until further notice, until someone changes their mind and puts it back on right. So the claim is released. But that kind of exists in perpetuity in the asset knows that it's hey, this was untethered. But an allow list means, as content ideas scanning, if I allow list this user's channel. So like allow list, Michael, you can use this song and forever you allow us the channel. Content idea understands that the music is there. It just doesn't ever create the claim. So kind of like skips over it. So that's fine and Dandy if you can under you hope to be in with your content idea admin in perpetuity, like Hey, I'm going to be with them forever, no problem. But if you end up switching your distributor or content idea Admin, they also have to add it to the allow list, because otherwise when youtube goes and like hey, we found this user video Michael, he's going to receive a claim because an allow list doesn't transfer with the underlying asset. So it's more of like don't look there, while this, while the assets in this content owner, we're not going to do anything with it. Versus like Hey, we find something, there's a match made and then the connection is either tethered or UN tellared. I like that. Yeah, I was like. I'm surely I'm not the only one with a question here, so I'm glad to hope. It's usually easy to like visualize it when you like see a picture or a diagram, so I'm hoping I did it justice. Maybe we can throw in a pie chart or something on the on the show notes to to further drive it up. Now, I would think in a perfect world you'd have the rights holders on one end and the creators on the other end and they're in perfect harmony, they're working together, it's beautiful all around. But I I would also imagine in practice that's not always the case and sometimes you've got maybe a creator is upset that they can't use a certain thing or, you know, an artist is like, Hey, I don't want this being used, etcetera, etcetera. So a thematic you're kind of balancing both of those sides. So have you found, like, is there a way to achieve, if not a perfect balance, like a pretty good harmony between the two or like what?...

What do you have to consider to make both parties happy and enjoying themselves totally? It's definitely a balance because you want to respect both parties. They're both creatives they're both trying to accomplish. They're both trying to distribute their product, whether it be a video or a song, and they're trying to grow their audience. So at the end of the day, they are a similar person. But we've you know, we look at them as h a contributor as well as the user of the platform, so a music artist and a video creator. So thankfully, we've been working with both parties on a very intimate basis for over a decade now. So, like, as I mentioned, we started at an independent record label. We were working with a handful of independent music artists, working with their digital rights and providing them digital strategy before thematic was an idea. And at the same time, my my expertise is also an optimizing and managed Youtube Channel, so I know how that process works, of friction points for a content creator and understanding the nuances. We of both sides of managing you know, expectations and what things make it easier and what things make it harder. So, in addition to that, we started our platform trying to balance that in a very careful way. We want to be respectful of both sides and we did a whole you know, your iteration of private Beta testing with the epsy creator community. Our Co founder, Michelle Fond, started the company ipsy and she was mentoring these group of creatives who were h starting to build their careers out in the beauty space. So we really worked with them hands on and we're like, you know, what's the magic wand what can we do to make it easier? What are your problems when discovering music for your channel? Like how do you know? What's the process like? What do you feel when you receive a copyright claim, like what does that mean to you? What is that? Is that notice scary and really understood from that perspective of like, okay, they waste a lot of time finding music. We can improve upon that. How can we best matt their personal aesthetic to the right song without being like genre, because what what does that even mean? And then understanding, like they don't want to get claimed when they've done the right thing. So they have a license and all of a sudden they still get a copyright claim. Just feels bad like they're getting penalized. They don't want to copyrate with that claim. And then we don't want to do allow listing because it's not a long term solution. Like I mentioned, it's like if the music artists moves their songs someplace else, the content creator becomes at risk. So, understanding from the creative perspective, we needed to reduce claims and make it easier to find the right music, and good music at that. So I was like, we've got that part covered, no problem. And the music artist side, it's about these artists who were really stuck at this point of okay, I just put my song up on spotify, I sent it to my fans, I sent it to my family, but like how else can I get it out there? Like I don't really have a budget to put on facebook ads or I've tried some playlisting services or, you know, I'm gonna go right down a hundred emails and do personal outreach and it's just like this time consuming. There's no like formula or blue blueprint right, it's just like put it out there and see what happens. And they're really just like stuck and they would do and you know, we talked with all these music artists who did literally go through hundreds of youtube channels and write down all of the email addresses and do outreach and being like hey, you can use my song in your video. You could do it and then all of a sudden, but they wouldn't know if the creator ever used it, or if the creator uses it and they failed to give the promotion that they promised, or, you know, the Creator uses it and then they get a copyright claim because the music artist doesn't manage the rights or it wasn't allowed listed or like protected. So it's just like a bad rite experience and we're like, okay, we gotta fix that part of it too. So really understanding how each side can deliver the other side value in terms of, like, Hey, I want to make it safe and easy for me to find music from really cool artists. For the content...

...raaders and then for the music artist, is how do I get my music into the hands of this influencer without, you know, paying their sponsored video rate of like hey, it's a product, my song is a product and I want to get it promoted in your video and I don't know how to manage that process where it's out of my budget. So we're like great, let's bring these two people together in a way where we've built this right's engine that sits on top of content idea too, to automate it and really validate licenses on the fly. So then the video creators who have licenses, who did the right thing, they never see a copy right claim, and the music artists get their music into those videos. There's a guarantee of the promotion, it's required by the content creator and then they get to monetize all the other non licensed videos at the same time. So it's really integrated the process in a seamless way to bring them together where it's frictionless and it's just like everyone's lives get a little bit easier in terms of, like, we just want to create and how do we get this stuff out there without being a huge ness of a situation. I'm all for making life lives easier, so I'm glad to hear. This might be a loaded question because it's very I would say I'm very broad, but I think the I hate saying that, the Creator economy that people love chatting about. You know, you see web three N F T S, like I'm seeing the chain smokers just released their new album as like an n f t that fans could get a portion of royalties, as well as like some other stuff going in and it's it seems like that might be slightly more commonplace Um moving forward, just from from what I've been seeing as someone who is not, like, fully invested in the space like you are. So again, this is a broad umbrella of a question, but what do you think content creation is going to look like in the future? Great Question. I do think there's a lot of hype right now and in the space and think people are figuring out. Well, okay, a a lot of people are trying to figure out what is an n F D. right there's a whole class of people who are just like, nope, this is too much for my brand of digest right now. I'll get to that when it's more widely accepted. I think there is value in that sort of space in terms of a new digital merchandizing item that any type of creative or creator or individual who has something to offer can utilize, and it's almost like, in certain aspects, you know, it could be some sort of fan club ish type of engagement where the people who are utilizing it get access to certain features from the distributor. So I think that space is being figured out and looking towards the future I'm really hopeful of a lot more opportunities for collaboration between different types of creatives and really just like reaching across the aisle to this like well, I'm a music artist or I'm this and putting themselves into one bucket when you find that, you know, we're seeing video creators who are launching their first song and they're like, you know, I've I've always had this passion, I'm just gonna try put it out there. Or maybe there's music artists who are also creating beautiful Um. You know, they have skills in Canava and they're able to design templates or graphic files that could be utilized on the other side and really seeing more of that exchange in a helpful manner and less of like, oh, we're trying to compete against each other, but really finding ways to collaborate for the value of all parties moving forward and just ways to make that easier between the parties of like it's tricky or it's hard, and like removing all of those land mines of like how do I integrate this piece without being this huge difficult thing to accomplish? Right? How do we hot we make it a more fluid creative marketplace between this you know, especially as people have discovered the creator economy in the past couple of years and like I've been here for a minute before it was even acknowledged, and I'm like, okay, whatever, there's more people in the party now, like it's great. I think it's a great community and time...

...for people to acknowledge the beauty of what's being created and like the business is being started and how people are able to accomplish and monetize their passions. I love it. So more people in the space, more people to make this happen, to make more transparency, how people can get paid faster, how it's just again, how do we make it easier from the days when it was like how do I know? How do I record a video? And you're like the IPHONE game right, like how do we keep making it easier for creatives? Again, it's all about I'll not make it things easier and yes to being paid at a reasonable time. is a long time freelancer. Sometimes I'm just like how, how do some of these places do business? Like there it's just like like hey, you know it's going to be at this schedule or like this is what it's for, and being able to allocate being like hey, from this type of creative product, you know the schedule is this, and then being able to really split those payments save you at a collaborator. How do you make it easy to your not like having to nickel and dine yourself on a spreadsheet and keep track of that, being like you know what, he's gonna get paid or she's gonna get paid at the same time, like the platform will handle it. I don't have to worry about them stiffing me. Like it's all fluid. So we always like getting a scoop on the show. Can can you give us any sneak peeks at something coming up? We have some partnerships in the work that I can't quite yet disclose. I really wish I could, like they're so close to it, but the idea is kind of in that same thing. And how do we allow the creative process to happen between these type of creators beyond Youtube and beyond just music being exchanged between these parties? So really looking at what's the next step and looking at multi platform creators and like you know, gone over the days when someone's just posting on Tiktok or just posting on Instagram, but again. Like you know, people are creating podcasts, people are doing live events, people are doing live streams on different platforms and there's always going to be a new TIKTOK, you know, as we continue to grow in this creator economy. So it's like how do we solve for those other problems and really make it easy for creators to post across the board and to collaborate across the board without having to like fact check or like figure out each platform's nuances of like can do this year, but don't use that song over here or like, don't export this song from this video platform to this one, because you're gonna get in big trouble, so to hint it. What's the comment? You know, keep an eye. Will have some announcements and route shortly. Excellent. We look forward to see in all of those. And you're almost off the hook here, but we always like to wrap up with a top three, and this is your top three music artists that should be on people's radars. Yes, okay, this is a fun because on thematic I'm we're constantly listening to them, USIC artists on the site, and there's ones that are just sort of like I gravitate to. I am I would listen to music across the board, but I would say with these three I would think everyone could easily get on board, no problem. So the first is Ellie Moore. She is an amazing singer Songwriter. She does infectious pop melodies. So if you like a good pop song like she should be on your playlist. Song that she put out recently that's been on my playlist is Romeo, and I think she just dropped a new one called bathing suits. So definitely check those two out. The second artist is this group called hoax and they're just like great summer vibes, like you're having a beach bonfire. It's like get a little rock in there. It's got a little alternative in there. Um. They have an album coming up and I think the songs you should check out are Sojo and Golden Eyes. And then the third is kind of Um, what we would almost define is the thematic signature sound. Um,...

...we're known for having aesthetic music and what that means. It's just like chill bybe just like feel good. I can't really go wrong with it. Servet of music, and one of the artists, Um, that I would recommend is public library commute. Um, just great. Their Song, you've been on my mind, is currently trending on our platform and I think it would be great on anybody's playlist. It's a great name to awesome. We we'll throw those in the show notes as well so people can check them out. And if people want to learn more and visit the matic, learn more about what y'all are doing, where can they find you? Sure you can find us at hello thematic DOT com. Whether your video creator, music artists or just want to check us out. Um, we're at hello thematic pretty much everywhere. Um, can't go wrong. Awesome. Well, Audrey, thank you so much. This was fantastic. Thank you so much for having me. This was a great conversation and I really enjoyed it. Likewise, likewise, I'm looking forward to checking out some new music after this, to be until lifefall. And of course we've got to end with a Corny joke, as we always do, and it's a bit of a mouth false, let's say. Le's see what we can do this. Rick Astley, you know famous Rick Athley. He has an extensive collection of Pixar movies on DVD. He'll let you borrow most of them. But he's never gonna give you up good after today people. Good people cool things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you're a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button. That helps more people here the show. You can send me a message, Joey, at good people, cool things dot com. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on good people cool things and check out all the old episodes via good people, cool things dot com. As always, thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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