I really want it to be the service that YouTubers use. I want to just completely put a dent in what every other music licensing company is doing. I think we have a shot at it.
1,000,000 years ago when I attended BYU, there was a group of musicians playing shows all over Provo. They were rappers and they were a big deal. They called themselves “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” and their Facebook page had about 1,300 followers. That is until YouTuber Devin Graham used one of their tracks for a video and their follower count jumped to 13,000. “If you don’t have a video, you don’t have a song,” says CSWS frontman David Peterson.
As the YouTube plays increased so did the group’s popularity and revenue, and even though the band never toured or sold merchandise, they managed to earn enough money to sustain all three members for a number of years. Peterson started receiving a dozen or so emails a week from YouTubers requesting to use a Can’t Stop Won’t Stop track in their video. Negotiating required a whole lot of back and forth emails and Peterson wanted to streamline the process. So he built a landing page. Then he realized that he may not be the only one who could benefit from his streamlined process.
Peterson began attending YouTube conferences and Copyright symposiums to determine the market interest in his planned product, and discovered a great need for a platform wherein YouTubers and musicians can find one another. “After [those meetings] I decided I should drop my other projects and go after this,” Peterson says. This became Use My Songs.
Use My Songs is a two-sided marketplace that brokers deals between up-and-coming artists. Musicians submit their music to YouTubers and YouTubers are able to license the submitted songs for free. “It’s unique to be able to use legitimately good songs from bands,” Peterson says.
Use My Songs has a tiered pricing model, or as Peterson calls it, a “freemium payment system.” In the free tier, YouTubers are limited to the amount of songs they can access and musicians are limited to the number of songs they can submit. For $50 a month, YouTubers can access more music and musicians can submit more songs. For a few hundred dollars a month, Use My Songs will actively promote artists. “We’ll pitch them for legitimate commercial opportunities,” Peterson says, then explains that normally an agent would take a percentage of of sales, but Use My Songs only charges a flat fee.
Up to this point, the company has been bootstrapped, but Peterson is looking for the right investor to help Use My Songs grow. “Without having done any ad spend, we have almost 13,000 people signed up to start using the site,” Peterson says. “Think what kind of growth we could affect if we put a little into an ad campaign.”
“I really want it to be the service that YouTubers use,” Peterson says. “I want to just completely put a dent in what every other music licensing company is doing. I think we have a shot at it.”