It has been an interesting twenty odd years since the advent of the internet. It’s a time that has left musicians wondering how to make ends meet since their traditional route (physical album sales) have been curtailed. What this means is that musicians are contiunously having to find new and unusual approaches to monetise their creations.
Luckily, licencing music continues to be a handy money spinner. Take Traditional licencing to film and TV soundtracks. I suppose the first alternative music soundtrack was the Cameron Crowe directed Singles Soundtrack in 1992. This, in turn, led to a plethora of other movie soundtracks filled with alternative music such as The Crow, Juno, and Little Miss Sunshine. Not only do these soundtracks provide much needed income for alternative music musicians, they also introduce such musicians to a wider audience that they might otherwise be unable to reach. For instance, I discovered Sufjan Stevens through the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack.
Interestingly, alternative music has also found new life in less traditional licencing routes. Recently, I heard one of my favourite songs from English singer / songwriter Anna B Savage on an advert for Nissan. With over 100,000 views on YouTube, and who knows how many plays in cinemas (that’s where I first saw it) and on TV, the potential exposure and initial income can’t be sniffed at. Another example is the use of a song by Irish alternative rock group Otherkin in a Rimmel London ad. While in past, alternative music in adverts was somewhat taboo, the times they are a-changin’.
Perhaps the most interesting licencing of alternative music in the 21st century is in different online casino games. Over the last few years I’ve seen a wide variety of bands featured in such games such as Motorhead, KISS, and ZZ Top. While many might scoff at this evolution, musicians have to adapt to survive and I, for one, admire musicians for making a exploring more unusual routes to monetisation.
At the end of the day, what we all want to see is musicians continuing to gift us with great art and to be able to sustain themselves while doing so. In 2017, with these routes more and more limited, these musicians are going to have to expand beyond what was traditionally thought to be acceptable. Licencing music looks like it won’t be going anywhere any time soon. We all have to adopt to this strange new world. Personally, I’m excited.