Recently we covered Epidemic Sound – a small yet ambitious start-up from Sweden who are innovating new, affordable and hassle-free ways to license professional quality music for your creative productions. Epidemic Sound’s vast and organised library – which offers subscribers unlimited access to thousands of royalty free tracks – was previously available only to a select number of industry professionals as part of a controlled beta. However, as of December the 19th, the service has opened up and been made available (in a sense) to a wider audience through Epidemic’s exciting new “TrackShop” technology – a service that grants independent, professional and amateur filmmakers alike access Epidemic’s vast library at an extremely fair, and importantly, royalty free one-off cost.
We spoke to Epidemic Sound CEO and Co-founder Oscar Höglund about the new service, and just how greatly it can benefit online video production.
Q: Epidemic Sound was founded in 2009 as a direct response to the overly complicated music licensing agreements and the legal issues these caused ﬁlmmakers and producers. What solutions does Epidemic Sound currently offer, and what future problems does Epidemic Sound hope to solve?
Oscar: Epidemic Sound is the ﬁrst production music library that gives video content creators use of professional-quality soundtracks in any country, on any platform, forever, for only a small fee. No additional charges are ever required of anyone, which is unique for a professional quality music library. Epidemic Sound can do this because it doesn’t represent music, it owns it. The company buys music directly from composers when tracks are created, rather than making the artists wait and rely on collection societies to send royalty checks at an unknown, totally unpredictable time. As a result, Epidemic Sound gives today’s generation of musicians a new way to make a living making music.
Q: Who is Epidemic Sound currently aimed at?
A: Epidemic Sound’s production music library was created primarily for video content creators, but is also used by companies, like McDonald’s restaurants throughout Austria for in-store music. On the ﬂipside, Epidemic sound is a new way for musicians to make a living making music.
Q: How many tracks are available on Epidemic Sound currently, and how many do you estimate will be available on the TrackShop by this time next year?
A: We now have more than 25,000 tracks that are tagged and formatted for our search tools that visual content creators use to explore, edit and download the music. And, each track is broken into STEMS – individual tracks where the instruments can be heard and edited separately – thereby creating over 100,000 sound ﬁles available for use. We’re adding about 300 to 400 new tracks to the library every month, so by next year at this time we should be pretty close to 30,000 tracks total.
Q: Right now Epidemic’s beta subscription service is available to a small number of broadcasters, production companies and industry professionals. Are there any future plans to open this subscription model up to hobbyists or independent ﬁlmmakers working to a lower budget?
A: We’ve just started accepting applications for early access to the new Epidemic Sound TrackShop, which allows video content creators for the ﬁrst time to license music from the company’s catalogue for just €1 ($1.35) per second. We expect to have the commercial release of TrackShop ready in early 2014. In the meantime, video content creators throughout Europe and the U.S. are able to get access to the library either through broadcasters, trade organizations or multichannel networks they belong to or are doing productions for. We have a commercial agreement, for example, with Maker Studios, one of the largest YouTube multichannel networks, that gives their video content creators free, unlimited access to our library. In the U.K. we have a similar agreement with Pact, the trade association there representing and promoting the commercial interests of independent creative content producers. As a result, Pacts members, who produce more hours of content for British TV than the BBC, can have unlimited use of the Epidemic Sound library. Regardless, feel free to contact us. If you want to use our music we’ll ﬁnd a way to do it.