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Peter Gabriel's Cuesongs lets independent filmmakers license major-label music

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Two new companies, Cuesongs and Ricall Express, have announced that they will be selling licenses for major label music to small businesses, independent filmmakers, and other people who would otherwise forgo licensing the songs.

Gallery Photo: Ion musical training tools: hands-on images
Gallery Photo: Ion musical training tools: hands-on images

Selling songs for use in major films and commercials is a big part of the music industry, and now two new companies will offer the same service for videos by small businesses, school groups, independent filmmakers, or even wedding parties. Cuesongs, backed by Peter Gabriel of Genesis, will license music from Sony and some other rightsholders, including Gabriel himself. Ricall Express, which builds off existing music licensing service Ricall, will have songs from EMI and other independent publishers. The Music Publishers Association head stressed that nobody is trying to force someone to pay "to upload a clip of their child dancing to the radio." Instead, the licenses are meant for smaller commercial filmmakers or nonprofit groups like schools.

Neither service has launched publicly, so we can't say how much a license will sell for or what songs will be available. Assuming the selection is adequate, the companies could save individuals the trouble of hunting down separate permissions to use a song's lyrics, music, and recording. And since they're targeting people who would otherwise record their own songs (think commercial jingles), license little-known music, or take the risk of using better-known work without a license, any deal is basically free money for the labels.