Music licensing is an ever-changing and evolving machine, and each week, we continue to report on the biggest changes in the industry. We have been keeping an eye out for trends, and this week is leaning towards a massive new trend.
Most of our readers are familiar with Sun Records, founded by Sam Phillips, in 1952. Sun boasts a catalog full of artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more. Since we can’t hear many of Sun’s artists live today, the label needed a new way of developing its catalog, and has partnered with Musicbed to offer 1,100 of its tracks. Musicbed is an online music library with built-in, one-click licensing options.
Over the last 3 years, Sun Records VP Collin Brace has been pitching the label’s catalog to music supervisors, ad agencies and producers, with the hopes of promoting some of its lesser-known artists. The label has found some success with earning placements in episodes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, a handful of commercials, and the trailer for the motion picture, Joy. However, with the new Musicbed/Sun Records partnership, Brace feels that it is “a big leap forward”.
The hope now with the powerful duo is that Musicbed will revive parts of Sun’s archives. While there are a clear number of stars on the label, Brace hopes to bring back some of the lesser-known but still wonderful artists such as Georgie Boy, Len Wade, Alton & Jimmy, and more. Brace stated that “Some of it is from people that walked in off the street, recorded a few songs and got some copies…if we can get some of these unheard and long lost tracks licensed, maybe it will get some attention back to the artist…” While Sun has not invested in mastering its 8,000 song catalog, the carefully selected 1,100 songs that are available through Musicbed have a very small number of which can be found within other online stores.
The ease of licensing at Musicbed is extremely appealing. In the past, instead of licensing a real Jerry Lee Lewis track, listeners would go find soundalikes, but now they are now more likely to pick Sun’s historical tracks than imitations. Musicbed’s founder and CEO Daniel McCarthy feels that his five-year-old company “has a second life it’s about to walk into”.
This huge deal lends us to believe that other online music libraries will need to adapt and keep up in competition with Musicbed, which could lead to further creative partnerships like this one. As always, things are changing in the world of music licensing and we will keep you posted on more change to come. For now, we can’t wait to hear all of the placements to come from this exciting partnership. Keep your eyes and ears on high alert for the next fantastic Sun Records/motion picture combination!
Check out a more detailed explanation on Billboard.