Underdog Indie Label Outranks Music Industry Giants: Magnatune Captures Number One Google Spot Over Sony, ASCAP, and BMI

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Magnatune captures number one Google spot over Sony, ASCAP, and BMI.

Independent record label Magnatune (http://www.magnatune.com) today declared David-and-Goliath style victory over several large, highly established music industry organizations when it announced it currently holds the number one Google position for the search term "music licensing," beating out "big four" record label Sony Music as well as powerful licensing organizations ASCAP and BMI. It's estimated that ASCAP and BMI collect approximately 1.3 billion dollars in music licensing fees annually.

"We didn't do any web site optimization around Magnatune's music licensing service at all," explains CEO and Magnatune founder John Buckman, "We're number one because we're licensing a lot of music online in a way that's never been done before, and it's attracting a huge amount of Internet buzz."

"For us," Buckman adds, "Google is functioning exactly the way it was meant to: as a barometer of the real interest out there. Right now, it shows that over 850,000 web sites are pointing to the Magnatune site."

The Magnatune site features original, rights-cleared work by over 200 established and emerging recording artists as well as a fully automated system for licensing their music for films, television, video games, advertisements, and other commercial use. Buckman, known for an unconventional approach to label operations, captured widespread attention in 2003 when he announced the Magnatune label would copyright its entire catalog under the Creative Commons share-alike license and allow artists to keep the rights to their own music. Buckman also splits all licensing fees and other profits evenly with artists.

"I'm interested in creating a system that's better for the recording artist," says Buckman. "Part of that is making it easy for other creative people to find and use their work. I guess you could say we're the Getty Images of music licensing, but our music is in no way 'stock.' Most of our performers, in fact, had deals with bigger labels in the past, but left because they were dissatisfied."

Among Magnatune's licensing clients is Gearhead Pictures, producers of The Blair Witch Project and The Strand--a film about Venice Beach, California being distributed in installments on the Web.

"Magnatune's automated system makes it easy to hear and license music for virtually any artistic or commercial endeavor," says Gearhead Music Supervisor Jan Halpern. "Plus, the quality and variety of music is outstanding. Magnatune played a considerable role in the shaping of The Strand's musical soundscape."

Halpern recently licensed music by best-selling Magnatune artist and self-publishing success story Brad Turcotte of the band Brad Sucks.

"I love having my music used by filmmakers," says Turcotte. "It's exciting to see creative people using my music in interesting ways and it also helps expose my music to a wider audience. It's a fantastic opportunity."

Other Magnatune licensing clients include Regal Entertainment, Agency.com, Whittman Hart, Publicis, and Linden Research--makers of the hit online role playing game, Second Life. In 2006 Magnatune has plans to roll out a subscription based service of rights-cleared music for use in restaurants, retail shops, and other public spaces.

About Magnatune

Founded in 2003, Magnatune (http://www.magnatune.com) is an independent, online record label that sells and licenses its music for personal, commercial and non-commercial use. Based on the "we are not evil" principle, Magnatune provides fair-trade music to consumers and creative professionals by equally sharing all revenue from the sale of albums with artists and allowing artists to retain full rights to their music. All music can be previewed in full, free of charge with a "try before you buy" philosophy. For more information, please visit the Magnatune website at http://www.magnatune.com.

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Shannon Coulter