This streaming platform is revolutionizing background music

According to Billboard, Soundtrack Your Brand, the Stockholm-based, Spotify-backed streaming platform devoted to background music in the b2b space, has announced a rush of direct deals with labels and publishers as it expands globally and looks to open up an often-overlooked revenue opportunity for rights holders.

Founded in 2013 by Beats Music co-founder Ola Sars, ex-Spotify executive Andreas Liffgarden and Beats veteran Joel Brosjö, Soundtrack Your Brand provides brick-and-mortar businesses with a modern solution for playing and curating licensed music in public.

According to the company, it now has hundreds of direct deals with labels including Sony Music, Warner Music, the Beggars Group and the indie collective Merlin, as well as multi-territorial direct publishing arrangements with Sony/ATV Music, Warner/Chappell and Kobalt. The firm also has deals with various collecting societies around the globe, including ASCAP, SOCAN and the joint venture known as ICE (Sweden’s STIM, Germany’s GEMA, UK’s PRS for Music).

“For the first time,” said the company in its announcement, “a background music service will license most of its music usage directly from labels and publishers, and the new deals include a pioneering per-stream-based compensation model that will make sure that all artists and composers get paid accurately.”

Soundtrack Your Brand has launched in 31 markets, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France and Spain, and now boasts a catalog of 26 million licensed songs. It hopes to entice coffee shops and other companies to ditch outmoded — and often unmonetizable — methods of playing music in public, such as CDs, consumer services like Spotify and terrestrial radio, and spend about $35/month for its platform in order to help get rights holders paid fairly.

“In the early days at Spotify, we worked around the mantra of ‘better than piracy.’ At Soundtrack we are facing a similar challenge, educating and inspiring business users to do the right thing, and to start using Soundtrack instead of B2C services or rogue B2B services,” said Liffgarden, the company’s chairman & co-founder.

The deal marks a first for Sony/ATV in Europe, where it had yet to sign a background music-related direct licensing arrangement.

“We are delighted to be licensing Soundtrack Your Brand’s innovative service which brings background music into the streaming era, combining the benefits of a great user experience with accurate accounting to songwriters and artists,” said Antony Bebawi, evp digital & society relations Europe at Sony/ATV. “We see this as an interesting growth area with the potential to both deliver incremental income to our songwriters and enable businesses to benefit from the vast value of music.”

Soundtrack has been in expansion mode since early 2017 when it announced a $22 million investment round. Sars, who is CEO, added that the company’s goals include “giving the power of music-streaming technology to brands, and working to assure that music creators get 100 percent correctly paid.”