There are two types of music licensing services in the world, and neither are ideal for independent filmmakers.
First, there are the affordable and free services. For the most part, these offer cheesy music that you would never want to use in your films.
And then there are services that offer great music, but once you try to license that music for commercial purposes, you realize very quickly that it's not an inexpensive proposition.
Then there's Art-List, which, upon its launch in early 2016, will offer unlimited high-quality music for a genuinely affordable annual subscription fee.
When Ira Belsky from Art-List first emailed me, it was the interface of the service that really caught my eye and piqued my interest.
While there are a number of good looking licensing services out there, Art-List blows them all out of the water.
Of course, good looking and functional aren't necessarily the same thing. Luckily, Art-List is designed to get out of your way and help you find exactly what you're looking for with search qualifiers that are genuinely useful for filmmakers.
Unlike other licensing services where you're immediately presented with an overwhelming array of tags, Art-List lets you search its catalog by mood, the theme of your film, or by the instrument type that you're looking for.
And of course, you get a nice graphical representation of each song's waveform, which can be helpful when you're trying to find a song that shifts from quiet to loud or vice versa.
Without a great selection of high-quality music from a variety of different genres, a music licensing service can't succeed.
That's why the founders of Art-List have partnered with a pair of well-known producers to help with sourcing music from a worldwide network of independent artists.
Here are a few promotional videos that showcase just a few of those artists whose music will be available on Art-List when it launches.
The Subscription Model
The most intriguing aspect Art-List is its subscription model. Instead of buying individual tracks for your films, you would instead buy one year of access to Art-List's service.
Though the price has not yet revealed publicly, that yearly subscription fee will likely be about the same price as one commercial license from one of the other well-known music services.
Once you're subscribed to Art-List, you have unlimited access to their entire catalog of music, which is always expanding as music trends change. And you can use those songs in any way you see fit, whether it's for commercial purposes or anything else.
This means that if you're a prolific producer of video content, say a YouTuber, you can download as much music as you want. No need to license each song individually. Whether you download 10 tracks a year or 100, the price is the same.
On top of that, there aren't any hidden fees on the backend for extending licenses or anything like that. You pay once, and you're done.
Art-List is expected to launch in February of 2016. If you're interested in getting notified upon launch be sure to like their Facebook page.
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