A weekly column profiling companies and personalities.
What: Audiosocket, Seattle
Who: Brent McCrossen, 35, president
Mission: Place music into film, video games and other media.
Placing a song: A customer places an order for music that meets specific mood, tempo and duration requirements, and the company searches its database of pre-cleared music that fills the bill. It then negotiates the placement fee, usually based on the artist’s current popularity. Song placement has become a way musical groups get discovered, with one placement sometimes leading to more.
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Music has changed: “Fifteen years ago, anyone who placed their music in a commercial or on a TV show was accused of selling out,” McCrossen said. “Obviously, that has changed.” Today, being identified with a popular TV show builds a brand and a feeling, which is why once-emblematic songs by The Who have become part of the CSI franchise. And one of the biggest opportunities on the Audiosocket horizon is background music for an emerging restaurant chain.
Employees: Ten, in Seattle, New Orleans, Los Angeles and New York.
Financials: The private company is not yet profitable, although McCrossen said “revenues are on an uptick, and we expect them to grow substantially.” Audiosocket follows the slice-of-the-pie model, which, in this case, includes a percentage of the licensing fee generated by the placement of a song that is generated as a result.
Got the blues: McCrossen is not discouraged by the economy, as people will go on making movies and developing video games regardless of the stock market. Nevertheless, the amount producers are willing to pay for a slice of music has fallen. A segment that earned a $14,000 placement fee just a few months ago draws $6,000 today.
Melody fair: “I’ve spent my life exploring different creative realms,” McCrossen said. “But to place an unknown artist’s music into a space that earns them $20,000 is extremely satisfying.”
— Charles Bermant