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December 2014
Issue: January 1, 2013

SWOT: KBV's Tony Verderosa looks at the music licensing business

By: Tony Verderosa
STRENGTHS: “The key strength for the licensing industry is that there is tremendous diversity in what is offered to clients across all media. From a purely creative standpoint, this is a big upside. Music can be licensed from thousands of indie labels, directly from artists, stock music companies, major labels and publishers.”

WEAKNESSES: “The increased number of licensing options available to potential clients has introduced new problems. The number of choices for any content producer in film, TV or Web can be overwhelming and very confusing. I have also seen bands that allow multiple ‘licensing companies’ shop their music to the same clients. When your songs and instrumentals appear in two or three or more catalogs, that just adds to the confusion.”



OPPORTUNITIES: “Educating artists and content producers about the process behind creating music and licensing music is a huge opportunity. 

“On the artist side: as a publisher/label and A&R executive, everything is based on personal relationships. We try to build close ties to each of the artists we sign. We only sign bands and writers we feel passionate about. We strive to give the recording process proper respect by recording and mixing in the best possible studio environment. We like to set the bar really high and have faith in the people we pitch music to. We are convinced that audiences and producers will hear the difference if we go that extra step. 

“On the client side: The opportunity is related more to music supervision and operating as a hybrid company. We develop the talent, we build a meaningful catalog of select songs, but we also have years of experience as music supervisors, music editors and music producers. For a show runner or film director it becomes a one-stop process. The clients we work with count on us for technical and also interpretative skills.”

THREATS: “Threats to the licensing side involve confusion in the market. Bands/writers should be more selective about who they allow to shop their music. If you are cranking out cues by the hundreds, then perhaps stock music companies are the way to go. There is always a big market for music needed on reality TV shows as underscore. Clients that opt for stock music are often shopping for music by the pound. Those content producers are not concerned with the artist or the songwriter, it's all about quantity. 

“If you are really passionate about the songs you write and you are genuinely trying to grow your audience worldwide, then perhaps it's better to focus on more meaningful placements such as feature films, hit TV shows and TV campaigns. Don't give it away. Wait for the right opportunity and make sure that whoever is shopping your music knows how to properly price it in the market place. I see a lot of companies shopping ‘indie artists’ at stock music prices. That just devalues music across the board. That would be the biggest threat out there for everyone. We need to increase the level of respect among producers and content developers so that people truly value the process of creating music.”

Tony Verderosa is the Creative Director of KBV Music (http://www.kbvmusic.com), which specializes in breaking new music artists via sync licensing for TV, commercials and film.