Online Service Helps Filmmakers Find, License Indie Music

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A new approach to music licensing makes it much easier for filmmakers, TV producers, editors, and other creative professionals to get rights-cleared music for use in their projects.

Independent record label Magnatune today announced growing popularity of its online music licensing service, with licensing sales up by more than 150 percent in the first quarter of 2006. The three year old record label is the first to automate the music licensing process in a manner similar to conventional online retailers - making music by over 200 recording artists easily available to television producers, advertising executives, and filmmakers for use in their projects.

One such filmmaker is Joachim Polzer, CEO of Polzer Media Group and director of The Election Day Documentary Film Series, a series that began with a documentation of the first and last free general election in former socialist East Germany before German unification in 1990. Polzer's production team licensed music by modern pianist Ehren Starks to provide moody counterpoint to the sunny autumn weather during which third chapter of his series takes place.

"What we highly admire about Magnatune in our documentary production department are the high quality standards both of musicality and repertoire by which the Magnatune catalog is curated. It matches our own high production values and exceeds any Garage Band sampling work we could have done by ourselves."

Another filmmaker who recently licensed music from the Magnatune catalog is Nancy Burnett, producer and director of Bosnia After The War--a compelling documentary of life in former Yugoslavia as seen through the eyes of six young adults.

"I found the perfect music for my project in the form of Panacea, a California-based women's music ensemble that performs these gorgeously modern interpretations of Eastern European and Balkan folk music," says Burnett. "This music significantly enhances the storytelling aspects of the project as a whole. "

"Typically labels and publishers make filmmakers go through an arcane negotiation process to license their artists' work," explains Magnatune founder John Buckman," "and the price is set based on the size of the filmmaker's budget. By contrast, we've automated this part of things with on-demand licensing quotes and a web-based music license generator, so everything is transparent, fixed, and fair."

Magnatune's music catalog features original, rights-cleared work by over 200 established and emerging recording artists in a huge array of genes that runs the gamut from Grammy winning opera singer Lorraine Hunt Lieberson all the way to inveterate rockers Electric Frankenstein--recently named Best Punk Band in New York City by New York Press. Buckman, known for an unconventional approach to label operations, 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."

Other regular Magnatune music licensing customers include Jan Halpern, music supervisor for Gearhead Pictures, the company that produced The Blair Witch Project as well as The Strand--an innovative method film being distributed online in installments.

"Magnatune's automated system makes it easy to listen to, buy, and license music for virtually any artistic or commercial endeavor," says 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."

Additional Magnatune licensing clients include Regal Entertainment,, Whittman Hart, Publicis, and Linden Research--makers of the hit online role playing game, Second Life.

About Magnatune

Founded in 2003, Magnatune ( is an independent, online record label that sells and licenses its music for personal, commercial and non-commercial use. 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


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Teresa Malango
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