We’ve been working with The Nerve – a snazzy music publishing company based in the UK – since 2021. We thought now was the right time to see if and how Vericast is helping them jazz things up. Here’s how our conversation with Scott Pearce, one of the founders, played out.
How did you first hear about us?
I’d previously worked at Audio Network and knew the Spanish sub-publishers – Music Library &SFX. They’d been using BMAT for a long time and were very impressed with the service and data. Good sub-publishers live off data, and these guys are amazing.
That’s awesome. Could you tell us how are you using the platform and the data we provide?
We’re using Vericast daily to monitor music usage on TV in our key markets and create royalty reports to cross-check our CMO distribution statements. Likewise, we use the detections as evidence for PROs or broadcasters to chase cue sheets.
“In music publishing, you can be on TV tonight and get paid 6 to 12 months later, so it’s essential to have the right tools to generate live reports and track payments.”
Having a live record of music usage saves us many hours. Instead of looking for evidence to send to CMOs, we’re using those hours to be more productive and get more things done.
These reports also help us stay motivated. The time between post-production and the actual transmission can be quite far apart.
“It’s always good to remind the composers and team that their work has come to fruition. I generate music usage reports on the previous 24 hours every day, and everyone loves to see them.”
Composers can often have a solitary working life in a studio and rarely hear where their music is used. They respond really positively to knowing that their art is being brought into play.
Many freelancers are editing shows and using music nowadays, so they’re not always sure if a production company or a broadcaster is licensed to use a specific work. We direct licence mechanicals rather than use MCPS, so we also need to stay across that.
So you give some of your production music library to broadcasters for free. Could you tell us why doing this helps?
Many broadcasters have blanket licences with CMOs and PROs, so we replicate those deals under our own terms. A lot of our customers are multinational or multi-platform focussed. By direct licencing, we manage to cover all of their needs upfront.
This promotes higher usage of our catalogue in more productions, generating greater and constant amounts of performance royalties, both locally and globally. It’s good for composers, customers and us.
We can transparently share the licence fee 50:50 with composers without various deductions or delays as we direct licence.
Now that you mentioned it, did your interactions with other industry players somehow change?
We’re mostly working with broadcasters and Collective Management Organisations. It’s helpful to have usage reports on your music when you have meetings with them.
Broadcasters are usually busy and don’t have time to look into music usage data. It’s probably nice for them to see the deal they’ve made with us pays off, as our music is being selected and used by show producers.
Which markets does our collaboration cover at the moment?
It mostly covers the UK, Ireland and Nordics – Norway and Denmark. We’re also working with a few sub-publishers in Germany. I’d expect other countries to come online as we enter new territories.
We’re covering over 80 countries, but that doesn’t mean all our clients have to sign up for that.
Exactly, as a new music publisher, you can sometimes work for months or even years before cashing in.
“We like that BMAT has a pay-per-country model. You have to be thorough with business expenses when you’re a small independent publishing company.”
The BMAT team advised us to invest in the markets that would bring us the highest ROI.
We want all members of our community to win. And speaking of, what does working with BMAT bring to your business?
It’s great to know what’s going on with your music, especially with so many audiovisual productions created and broadcasted.
“BMAT helps us get the daily confirmation that we are doing our job properly. It’s satisfying to see that our effort is being rewarded. Sharing that information with all the contributors serves as a huge motivational factor.”
We can make decent forecasts and plans for our business with actual live data, and these reports also help with the creative side. It’s good to see which tracks are working and which versions are used by certain clients or production genres, be it property shows or teen dramas.
I remember what working in publishing before audio recognition was like. You were just guessing that you were doing the right thing – that’s not the ideal way to run a business. Now we know for sure which things are working by looking into data.
What kind of data are you getting through Vericast and why is it useful?
We generate TV music usage reports to trace down royalties. We also use various filters to create reports, answer questions and inform strategies, so all that is useful. Being able to play video segments to back up all our claims is also great.
I’m sure there are more features we didn’t get to explore yet. Whenever we ask the BMAT team if we can track something, they normally tell us the function is already there and show me how to use it. They’re very kind about my lack of technical skills.
How were the first months of our collaboration?
Good and I was finding more usage than expected, especially with the repeated TV shows or distributed international content.
“I became very obsessed with it…I still am.”
What’s the best part about making production music nowadays?
Variety – making music of all shapes and forms. It’s also great when TV producers want to break the rules, do something different with a format, and use music to influence that. That’s just fun.
It’s always been a hard industry for creators to generate income. Facilitating a route to the market that generates revenue for them is hugely satisfying, especially when you compare streaming to TV sync and public performance rates.
“I still get a huge kick out of hearing a track we’ve placed on TV, it’s a sense that has never left me over the last 20 years.”
Helping great young writers and ‘first timers’ get their music released and onto content is really rewarding. It’s not an obvious or traditional place for young writers to inhabit. Still, it’s picking up as a part of many artists’ career paths now, and it’s fun demystifying this world to them.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience working with BMAT?
“I have to say it’s always been a really nice, fun and human relationship. It’s nice to be able to chat with humans in a relaxed and collaborative way.”
We often have a bunch of ideas for additional services and get to explore them with the BMAT team as a collaborator. They generally take the view that what works for The Nerve will work for other customers too, which is refreshing and encourages more input from us.
Where do you think the industry is heading? What has changed with the rapid technological advance?
‘TV’ in its broadest sense will be more streamed and perhaps less curated in terms of scheduling – this has already started. Still, a large part of the audience likes the TV to be served on a schedule. Choice or algorithms don’t always equal happy discovery. TV will hang in there for longer than many predicted – it’ll just evolve a bit.
“The music creator market is going through a huge renaissance. We are only limited by our imagination on the future of music, both on the creation and the industry or monetisation sides.”
Will AI be the next Beatles? No one knows.
Find out more about how Vericast is giving publishers around the world higher visibility of their music so they can cash in on every usage.
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