Entrepreneurship in Music Series: 002
C.E.O. & Co-founder Daniel McCarthy
Founded in 2010, Musicbed is a full-service music licensing platform based in Fort Worth, Texas that provides easy access to a highly curated selection of music to filmmakers worldwide. They believe that relevant music should be accessible and that the licensing process should be enjoyable, which is how they came to design this incredibly intuitive and convenient online shopping-cart-style process of licensing music on a sliding price scale. You can browse the catalog, choose what music you’re interested in using and purchase the license on the spot. It makes the whole darn thing so quick, easy, and honorable and they are building momentum in the creative community by providing young, emerging artists with genuine support and revenue.
They also co-publish the beautiful FILM+MUSIC Magazine, which features inspirational and educational articles and interviews covering the film and media industry, and run Film Supply, an innovative stock footage collection that bundles scenes together for their clients. All in all, the team here is deeply passionate, collaborative and strives to make big changes in a creative industry that could use a bit more personalized care and attention.
Can you talk about the service you provide for artists?
Artists are our #1. Our goal is to help carry artists’ music as far as it can possibly go through “the power” of the sync license. We are making some seriously beautiful things together and it’s exciting. We are the licensing representation for 500 hand-picked artists on our site and we position each one really well within each genre to land significant placements. Our in-house team of Music Supervisors is pitching music to filmmakers/brands/agencies 24/7.
We have this saying around Musicbed, “You know it when you hear it.” It’s all about whether a song has the sound and emotion to move you. We only license music that we think is excellent, and we’re always encouraging our artists to keep making music that reflects who they are instead of what they think is going to sell. At the end of the day, we’re about enabling artists to do what they love.
Your quote, “It doesn’t make any sense to me why there are literally hundreds of thousands of good musicians, that have great music, and it’s just sitting on a hard drive somewhere” is a powerfully universal statement. It points to a conversation about music-making technologies being so well democratized and affordable, allowing anyone to make a great work of art for a fraction of the cost, but there being these gatekeepers out there that consistently push in the other direction. With that founding principle in mind, how does MUSICBED seek to create opportunities for artists?
Right? That’s the whole thing. That idea really hits home because we ourselves are musicians, filmmakers, creatives and are surrounded by a community of the same. We don’t believe that an artist should be “less considered” for a film than, say, Coldplay because they don’t have manufactured notoriety (don’t get us wrong, we still love Coldplay). Musicbed was born out of this issue: how do we give phenomenal “undiscovered” musicians some well-deserved reach? They’re just as good if not better than the mainstream options and independent music adds a more custom touch and interest to your project.
We watched this play out over and over as filmmakers wanting an awesome, impactful score, considering what was in our iTunes library from the big guys, and then concluding, “well, our buddy Jordan has been producing some great stuff, let’s see if he can do something for us.”
Artists — be resourceful, be vigilant about maintaining relationships, and be yourself.
We just want everyone to have access to that. We want everyone to be able to easily find and acquire a license to a unique song that’s going to create a moment in their film without having to jump through hoops. We provide a catalog of pre-cleared tracks that you can instantly license based on your project size and other factors. Then, if we don’t have the license type you need directly on the site, our Custom Licensing team is super fast and has all the hookups. So, we’re making the process as painless as possible because we’ve been there.
How many of the staff are musicians, DJs, or involved with music on a personal level?
Probably 75% of our team is wrapped up in music on a personal level – whether recreationally or coming from a professional background. Almost everyone can play or sing or both. We all love music and love seeing artists succeed on a personal and global level.
How would you describe your corporate team culture?
Healthy. We don’t play games with culture. It’s so important to us. Our office is fun and relaxed but we are always moving forward. Everyone is secure in their role and is committed to building in to what we’re creating as a team – not just promoting their own personal agenda. It’s a rare thing. Not gonna lie, it’s harder to have a healthy culture built on trust than to just rally talented people around the novelty of the film and music industry. But we think it’s the best way to create an environment where people are really released to be their best.
Do you guys make social time for team interaction, or, dare I say, hang out ?
We probably hang out too much – if that’s possible. All of our lives are so interconnected. We’re all friends so there’s a lot of work/life integration and it feels very familial. We regularly have team events — whether it’s a big gumbo cookout at the office (kids and spouses included) or a dodgeball tournament at the trampoline park. Team breakfasts are also a regular fixture at the office. So, if something gets tense at work, you better work it out fast because you probably have dinner plans with that person!
People want quality. If you don’t have a good product, then your relationships don’t hold much weight with industry leaders.
How does Musicbed attract or target film studios and advertising clients?
Relationships are definitely key. We love people and simply enjoy getting to connect over life and projects. Our catalog represents the best that indie music has to offer. And the reality is, people want quality. If you don’t have a good product, then your relationships don’t hold much weight with industry leaders. It’s taken us a while, but we’ve built real friendships with these guys. The big production world is smaller than you’d think, so it’s all about trust and delivering consistently for a long time. Word spreads.
What are some things young artists can do to further their careers?
The playing field is really leveling out in a way. Artists have more resources and opportunities to make excellent work than ever before. Ultimately, you can have great production and not be saying anything. Artists with a defined voice are surfacing organically and we think that’s really encouraging. Currently, we receive more than 50 submissions every day, and we listen to every single one of them. By far, the most common reason we reject a submission is because it lacks authenticity. It feels derivative. It’s not just that we’ve heard it before; it doesn’t seem to be coming from the artist’s heart. So, artists — be resourceful, be vigilant about maintaining relationships, and be yourself.
Whats the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Help others win.” It sounds counterintuitive, but when you focus on empowering other people to run far with what they’re gifted to do, you inevitably find your own lane and your own specific purpose. Then, never stop. You won’t ever be lacking friends or opportunities if you’re a person that promotes others.
Special thanks to Communications & Events Manager, Will Meier.