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‘PROs have no idea what’s played’: Vnue pushes into rights

Vnue, a New York-based tech start-up that aims to “revolutionise the live music business” by recording shows and releasing experiential content to fans, is to acquire Soundstr, a music rights company that pays rightsholders based on the actual usage of their works.

“For years, the performance rights organisations have utilised blanket licensing agreements to charge businesses, such as the 62,000-plus bars and taverns in the US, large fees for music they are likely never going to play, due mainly [to the fact] the PROs have no idea what music is actually being played,” says Vnue CEO Zach Bair.

“Because of this, many rightsholders don’t see a dime from performances of their work in blanket licensed businesses. Our technology aims to solve this issue and make it fair for everyone.”

The acquisition of Soundstr will, says Vnue, speed up the development of its own music-identification technology, MiC (Music Indentification Center). With MiC, instead of paying blanket fees to license music, bars would only pay for music they actually use, eliminating costly lawsuits from collection societies that target unlicensed venues.

“The current performing rights system discourages venues from having music”

“The vision for Soundstr is to create transparency on real-world music use, ensure accurate songwriter payments when their works are used and simultaneously help licensees pay fees in accordance with their music use,” says company founder Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger. “Vnue is the natural home for Soundstr as the company seeks to carry on with that vision. I look forward to the day when general performance royalties show up on my performing rights statements.”

“The current performing rights system discourages venues from having music, and does not fairly compensate the musicians even if the venues do pay into the PRO system,” adds Bair.

“With the joining of the MiC system and Soundstr technology, we will better align the fees the venues pay with the music that’s actually played there – and by making this fee fair and transparent, increase the number of licensed venues and ultimately increase royalty payments to the actual rightsholders for the songs.”


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