Have you ever wondered why online sports videos are sometimes muted or why a live stream of an event is taken down or even why your routine videos get blocked?
The reason is because it includes unlicensed music.
Performance sports and Fitness have a huge problem with music licensing,
and we have the solution.
Performance sports are those where music is an intrinsic part of the sporting performance, such as gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, figure skating, marching band etc. as well as the parts of the general fitness market who perform exercise routines to music.
Popular music is good for sport. Using known songs from popular artists helps engage audiences and judges in a performance, and being able to perform to great music generally stimulates increased athlete participation in the sport concerned.
A great example of the impact music can have on a routine is this viral video of a Katelyn Ohashi's floor routine from 2019.
Music also has several other benefits in sport and fitness, which we covered in this blog.
Sport also has a positive impact on music, helping promote artists and their music to a wider audience.
Sports’ symbiotic relationship with music has, however, presented a longstanding issue which has held back performance sports and fitness professionals from fully realising the benefits of using popular music in today’s online world.
In the past few months especially, after Covid-19, it has become even more apparent that music licensing is a key factor in any sports online strategies for a ‘new-normal’ world.
What’s the problem?
The big issue for sports is that the specialised bundle of rights needed for the music is difficult to license, especially in the huge numbers used at a single event. This is due to the traditional licensing process being time consuming and expensive.
The music industry is typically focussed on large one-off licensing opportunities, such as Superbowl ads and big Films which are each individually negotiated, but just one sport needs licenses to literally tens of millions of songs worldwide, each year.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that PROs (Performing Rights Organisations) only license rights to play ("perform") unaltered music in a public place, but sports use music in a different way - they edit and adapt the music, and create choreographed routines to it, both of which are sensitive rights to the artists and the multiple writers typically involved in creating each song.
Under international copyright law adapting and choreography rights require the artist and writers explicit permission in each and every case. You can read more about copyright law here.
The scale of the problem is illustrated in this 1 minute video:
What rights are needed by each part of a sport’s ecosystem?
The following diagram sets out all of the music rights needed by a typical sport, from the rights required by one athlete or team creating and performing to their music mix for the season, to the "additional rights" required by International/National Federations and competition organisers, on top of each individual athlete's / team's licensed rights.
As well as getting the rights to edit and adapt the music into a mix and perform a choreographed routine to it, athletes, teams, fitness professionals, competition organisers and federations increasingly need the "additional rights" (listed in the right-hand box), to build and exploit their own online presence, audience, reach and engagement - whether that is hosting content on their own websites, live streaming routines and events, or monetising content via their own subscription based video-on-demand services.
Additionally, since the onset of Covid19, we have seen an increased demand from trainers, choreographers and fitness professionals for sync licenses for commercial uses - one of the early adopters of this approach was Jonathan Lewis, a leading cheer and dance choreographer who is selling video content to deliver his expertise to his clients whilst he is unable to visit them in person.
So there is undoubtedly a large demand to use such "additional rights" from many different parts of a sports ecosystem.
It is important to also add that International/National Federations and competition organisers need to know what music is being used by each team - they need tools to accurately track the music used and understand who the owners of that music are so the "additional rights" can be licensed and usage can be reported appropriately to the rightsholders in accordance with the terms of the "additional rights" licenses.
But, without all of the necessary licenses to each song from each team from the outset, the "additional rights" can't be licensed.
What's the solution?
A few years ago ClicknClear set out to solve this problem in the only possible way - to do the hard work on behalf of all sports and get the backing of the music industry to gain explicit permission from each artist and writer of a song, using technology to provide an end-to-end scalable solution that allows each different part of a sports ecosystem to easily and instantly license the rights to the music they need, for each of the standard and "additional" use cases described above, all at a reasonable price.
Even our name evokes the experience we want our sports to have: "ClicknClear"!
At the time writing, we have deals with over 530 record labels and publishers including the ‘majors’ as well as independents; more are being signed each week:
Our catalogue includes many millions of copyrights from global icons, established artists and hot up and coming talent in many genres and we only offer tracks on our licensing platform to which we have cleared 100% of the master and publishing sides (artists and writers).
We currently offer over 165,000 tracks that can be instantly licensed to create a sports or fitness mix, and our catalogue is growing fast as we constantly work to piece together the full ‘jigsaw puzzle’ of music rights on each track.
We regularly expand our platform's search capabilities, and have recently launched a feature that allows users to search our catalogue by which additional rights are available to license, such as live streaming, video-on-demand etc. so that teams entering virtual or physical competitions that are live streamed or shown on video on demand platforms, can easily choose music with these rights that are already available for the organisers.
In addition, sports teams and fitness professionals can instantly license the online video (sync) rights to make routine, training or fitness videos available online, commercially.
Currently there are over 85,000 tracks available for these "additional rights" and that number is growing quickly as we work with our music rightsholders to opt them into these new usages.
Our additional rights rate card covers:
Live streaming: non-commercial and commercial, single country and multi-country
Video on demand: non-commercial and commercial, single country and multi-country
DVD: non-commercial and commercial, single country
Video sync: commercial, single country and multi-country
How technology enables our music licensing solution.
This 3 minute video explains the tools we have created to match music rights, license music and allow the full auditing and reporting of that licensing for use by competition organisers, and International/National Federations on a regional and worldwide basis, at a low cost.
Working with ClicknClear is easy for Sports and Fitness professionals.
First, build a base of fully licensed music from ClicknClear.
For teams and fitness professionals, just license music from our site, and you're all set in an instant!
For larger-scale uses, we can put agreements in place with competition organisers and International/National Federations to:
implement official music guidelines / rules tailored to meet the legal requirements in each country.
provide educational webinars and resources to help educate about music rights.
implement our license management and verification system for reporting purposes.
provide licenses to live streaming and video on demand rights.
When athletes / teams use music licensed from ClicknClear at competition, this builds the foundation of licensed music needed for competition organisers and International/National Federations to license the "additional rights" they need to promote their sport online and run virtual competitions without the risk of legal action.
We look forward to talking to you about your needs!