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Rumblefish: Content ID and Music Micro-Licensing

Rumblefish is the leader in micro-licensing and YouTube royalty administration. Its micro-licensing platform allows social video networks, video applications and marketplaces to offer soundtrack functionality on web, tablet and mobile offerings providing access to the world’s largest copyright-cleared soundtrack catalog of over 5 ...

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Income ID: How Dhruva Aliman, independent electronic artist and video provocateur, was inspired by Content ID and social video to make his living in music

One night, a girl shot a video of herself dancing and doing a gymnastics routine in her bedroom to a song blasting from her stereo. She uploaded the video to YouTube. Musician Dhruva Aliman got paid. “It wasn't technically synced,” the artist explains. “She was playing my music on her stereo and the Content ID system actually picked it up, even though it was a bit muffled."

Rewind, to a few years ago. Aliman was lukewarm about his work in music. Then he met Rumblefish, the leading licensing company for indie artists. "When I got my first check from Rumblefish for $76 dollars, I wasn't really doing much with music and I wasn't getting anything from ASCAP," Aliman recalls. Then bigger checks arrived, and Aliman got hooked. He has received as much as $13,000 a quarter in recent years. Across all videos/channels, Aliman has more than 100,000 subscribers and a total of more than 130,000,000 views, stats that rival those of pop stars like Ke$ha.

"This revenue convinced me that what I'm doing as a musician is actually useful to people, so it inspired me to continue making music,” he reflects. “Without Rumblefish's reach, I don't know how people would have found my videos and I don't know how I would have gotten into YouTube's library."

In some ways, Aliman’s approach and his success reflect the changing nature of the licensing landscape. It’s no longer just about convincing music supervisors, say, to use your music in an ad or film; it’s about finding ways to get other professional and amateur creators excited about your tracks, then ensuring these tracks lead to income via services like Rumblefish. “Content ID enables you to license your own music,” explains Aliman. “If you're in the content ID system, you don't have to wait from someone else to pick your music to license, you can do it yourself."

“Content ID is one part of the high-growth music micro-licensing space that is paying real dividends for independent musicians. Paul Anthony, Rumblefish founder and CEO, notes. “Micro-licensing is unique because artists can drive interest and revenue by leveraging social video much more effectively than music streaming services. What’s easier to get a million people to do, listen to your song on Spotify, or watch an amazing video that uses your song as the soundtrack?”

"People use my music for all kinds of other things like graphic and animation software tutorials and personal sports videos made with GoPro cameras of people mountain biking and skiing,” Aliman notes. “Then I can make money off my own videos by using my own songs. I'd rather go through Rumblefish because they can get my music into YouTube and a long list of other marketplaces and social video apps way more than I could as an individual."

Aliman has developed a distinct visual style and type of content, and created a substantial following for it." My own videos are mostly compilations, ’Epic Win‘ compilations or Animal compilations called ’Man and Beast.’” Dhruva has a video at the top of one of his channels, Electronica Fantastica, marketing his music, encouraging other video makers to use his music.

Videos have another important role to play in an artist’s livelihood: They drive digital download sales. "Another great thing about Content ID is that it winds up boosting your download sales,” says Aliman. “I see a direct correlation between the tracks with the most iTunes sales and the videos with the most views, that use those particular tracks."

Aliman has personally been making the most of micro-licensing, but he feels Rumblefish’s support is crucial in keeping everything running smoothly. "Rumblefish has really good customer service. YouTube can be kind of glitchy, especially when video producers are using personal video game footage. Sometimes there won't be an ad, so I can call Rumblefish and get them to quickly ensure there's an ad for that video, monetizing it. They really were the pioneers of this and they always seem to be the first to think up a new idea within sync-licensing. And they're always open to input from artists. They are really artist-friendly.