ClicknClear's interview with Synchtank, by Emma Griffiths.
We first featured our client ClicknClear on Synchblog last year when their platform for licensing music to performance sports had only recently launched. Almost 12 months on we chat to founder Chantal Epp (pictured) about their latest achievements and how they continue to tap into a huge opportunity for music rightsholders globally.
What is ClicknClear‘s business?
ClicknClear is the first and only music licensing platform delivering the power of officially licensed music to performance sports worldwide. Performance sports – such as cheerleading, gymnastics, figure skating, dance etc. where music is an integral part of the sporting performance – represent a huge as-yet-unlicensed annual opportunity for music. As music licensing professionals and performance sport participants, we want awesome, affordable, 100% legal music available so that both music and sport can thrive. So we created an online marketplace where teams / their music producers can easily license all the great original music they want from our growing number of rightsholders, pre-cleared with all the additional rights needed to use in sports mixes, at a reasonable price. As well as promoting music directly to end users, ClicknClear works with sports governing bodies to educate and enforce the use of properly licensed music.
How has ClicknClear developed and expanded over the last year? What have been the biggest milestones? It’s been a really significant year for us, in all areas of the business! In May last year, we got investment for the company, and have subsequently grown a team of great people to help move the business forward even faster, with more to come. We have been focussing on cheerleading as our ‘beta’ sport, and in December signed with the sport’s governing body – the International Cheer Union – to be their only ‘preferred music vendor’. In turn, this has lead to a growing number of discussions with national governing bodies about how to verify that the correct music licenses are in place for the teams in their territories.
On the music side of things, we signed our first major rightsholders last August, and have been able to promote some really well known tracks to our market, with plenty more still to come!In January this year, we won the NY:LON conference’s ‘Best Start-up’ award, voted on by the music industry audience for the business they felt was the most likely to have the biggest impact on the music industry. This was really helpful in further cementing awareness of what we are doing amongst the music rightsholder community on both sides of the Atlantic.
So, all in all its been very busy but incredibly rewarding, and we feel like we are on a great trajectory.
How many rights holder partners are you now working with?
We are now over 100 rights holders, and signing more deals every week. Getting the rights in place that we need for performance sports on both master and publishing sides is a big and painstaking task, but we definitely have a critical mass now. Each new rightsholder we sign, both majors and independents, has an ever greater effect on the number of tracks we can offer to our sports as the ‘missing jigsaw pieces’ of rights are put in place.
What’s surprised you the most in your journey so far?
How quickly things are starting to come together now – its taken a lot of meetings over a long time to get the rightsholders on board and gain the trust of the sport’s governing bodies, but that time and effort has now paid off. We really have a lot of support on both sides from Music and Sport. We are now a genuine bridge between the music industry and sport, and increasingly people are seeing that the story is compelling; there is awareness and interest in what we are doing, and the time from first contact to a signed deal is shrinking dramatically!
What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
There have been many, but if pushed for just one I’d have to say signing the preferred music vendor deal with the International Cheer Union. It was a real validation for the approach we are taking, and is a very significant proof point in the fact that people at the top of a high profile sport like that recognise how we can help them harness the power of officially licensed music to the benefit their sport. Equally significant is the message it sends to the music industry; that we have value-add far beyond that of a standard ‘DSP’ channel and are starting to unlock the full potential of the opportunity for music licensing in performance sports.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We are already hard at work specifying the next stage of our platform’s evolution to manage the availability of licensed music throughout the sporting ecosystem for the benefit of key stakeholders like music producers, teams and athletes, event producers, sport governing bodies and music collecting societies worldwide, and protect and perfect the flow of royalties to rightsholders via full verification and tracking from the point of licensing of tracks and creation of a mix right through to streaming for practice and in competition venues.
We want to focus the next 12 months on building a really robust verification system that we can then test in some relatively smaller cheer countries in preparation for wholescale adoption in the sport within 18 months.
We are also going to be applying the experience we now have from cheerleading to an increasing number of sports, to help them solve the same problems. We are attending the SportAccord conference in Australia where we’ll be sitting down with the heads of the Olympic sports federations that use music, e.g. figure skating, gymnastics, synchronised swimming, dance and more.
And of course we’ll be continuing to sign up even more amazing music catalogues; we want wide variety of music curated for each sport so they have access to great content and rightsholders are able to monetise in a previously unlicensed market.
So any rightsholders reading this who aren’t yet working with us – get in touch, we want to sign you up and make you more money for your music!
Enjoyed this post? Check out Unlocking $670M in Untapped Music Revenues: A Q&A with ClicknClear CEO Chantal Epp