Pop star – and now angel investor - Peter Gabriel knows a thing or two about the music industry. He remembers the glory days in the eighties when artists made a decent living from cassette sales. He remembers the nineties with its minidisc craze and CD boom. And he remembers the 1970's when purple loons were perfectly acceptable on-stage garb. But he’s also watched the web – and piracy – erode the sprawling industry down to an angry nub over the last two decades. Today, the music industry is more alley cat than king of the jungle, fighting for a share of the spoils from iTunes and clamouring for legislation like SOPA to protect its interests.
And this is why Cuesongs is a simply brilliant idea. It’s a music licensing firm aimed at providing cheap music and scores to the squillions of Youtube and Vimeo users that want soundtracks for their cinematic endeavours.
What sets Cuesongs apart from every other licensing play is that the company has teamed up with big music corporations like EMI and Sony to record covers of popular tracks. Gabriel told the BBC, ‘By introducing low prices and easy online access, Cuesongs is creating a new market for music, to satisfy a huge untapped demand that can begin to provide new income streams for artists.’ All the familiarity of a hit song without the IP infringement case – it sounds like a no brainer to MT.
Many tracks will be available free to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profits – clever Cuesongs is toeing the consumer line by choosing this freemium model over a more draconian system. The website is currently still in beta – and access is invite only – but the launch is scheduled for later this year.
Will Cuesongs help to build bridges between the music industry and its nemesis, the world wide web? Will it be the genesis of a new kind of music venture, perhaps? MT’s heart is going boom boom boom.