Advancements in digital technology and the development of music recording software have brought professional quality recording to the home. Evan Buist, a 31-year-old entrepreneur, composer and sound designer from Sydney, says the biggest challenge for a composer in 2014 is not how to produce great music, but how to gain exposure and get paid in an increasingly competitive industry.
To bring the business back into music by helping composers rise from the cracks of obscurity, Buist decided to build a global crowdsourcing platform, NeedaJingle.com. Built in the spirit of 99designs and DesignCrowd, the site is set to transform the way custom music and sound design are sourced for commercial use.
NeedaJingle runs open contests in which composers, musicians, producers and recording artists from all over the world compete to have their tracks selected for use in media productions in exchange for a licensing fee set by the contest holder.
“It has always been difficult for composers to get a foot in the door of the music synchronisation industries. That is, music for advertising, film, television, gaming and so forth. There are very few positions available and having a good network is often as important as actual compositional skills,” says Buist.
“NeedaJingle was created as a platform that values talent and ability over politics, geographic location and personal networks. At NeedaJingle, artists are valued by their ability to interpret the brief and deliver quality work – and that’s it.
“So, for artists with a great deal of raw talent, who for whatever reason were previously unable to get a foot in the door, this is a real opportunity to be heard and genuinely considered alongside more established composers on real projects.”
Though the site launched officially yesterday, NeedaJingle has been recruiting musical talent since February this year. Buist says they have “hundreds of professional composers, musicians, producers and recording artists registered from all corners of the globe” – including cellists, pianists, multi-instrumentalists, banjo players, orchestrators, and singers singing in numerous languages.
As such, rather than hiring a single composer, NeedaJingle gives directors, producers, agencies and production companies access to a wide range of international composers, giving them more control, more options, and more interpretations on their brief.
Whether it’s for commercials, apps, websites, games, education, or even personalised music for anniversaries and weddings, artists on NeedaJingle will compose music for any occasion.
For whatever budget clients may have allocated to a single composer (or for generic library music), they’re able to engage a diverse pool of international artists, all striving to provide the best custom audio to fit the brief and win the prize.
Music licensing with NeedaJingle is fairly simple and flexible, Buist assures. Clients can customise exclusivity and duration; and all licenses are worldwide and cover all media.
For more sensitive campaigns, the Private Contest feature allows clients to restrict contest access to registered site users, and only after completing a non-disclosure agreement. Private Contests block search engine indexing and disable social sharing functionality in order to fully protect campaign information.
Contests also include a video synchronisation option for projects requiring accurate timing or cue points. By uploading a video, clients are able to preview audio submissions locked to their vision.
NeedaJingle is completely free for artists; Buist says this has always been a priority feature of the site.
“It has become commonplace for musicians and composers to be charged to access work opportunities in the online realm and this is not how it should be,” he adds.
Clients are charged a flat fee of USD $89 as well as a 10 percent prize commission every time a contest is listed. There are also add-on features such as the Private Contest feature which can be activated for USD $39.
“As clients are able to set the actual prize amount (or licensing fee) themselves, they can easily work our admin fees into the overall figure they had in mind,” Buist adds.
There are two minimum prize amounts depending on the licensing terms selected – USD $500 for exclusive contests and USD $250 for non-exclusive contests.
Buist stresses that these are “minimum amounts” and that “the prize amount should reflect the task at hand”.
He also says that they’ve been careful to protect their composers’ intellectual property. NeedaJingle does not take a cut of artist royalties and request their clients to report on any public performance and broadcast details so that they get this information back to the artists.
Buist says NeedaJingle’s first contest generated over 50 submissions in the first 12 hours and 180 tracks in total, proving that the concept resonates with composers.
More information is available via www.needajingle.com.