How would you like to make a few extra dollars with your music?
We all know that selling music is a tough business, but you don't have to just follow the formula of putting together an EP or album and sticking it on iTunes. Music publishers are actively looking for tracks to use in movies, TV shows and websites, and you could be sitting on a goldmine of material waiting to be snapped up.
Now a new scheme by Soundcloud and Getty aims to make it easier than ever for people to find and buy rights to your music.
All you do is sign up at Getty with your Soundcloud login, and you can choose to put forward your music to Getty's archive. Depending on where the music is used, you can earn up to $1,500 for corporate use, down to $99 if a website wants it.
But wait! There could be a few problems to iron out first.
If your music is really good enough to be picked up for corporate use, maybe you could do better than getting $1,500. You also lose 100% of control over who gets to use your music, so if you disagree with a company but they license your track, you can't do a think about it.
It might not work for companies searching for music either. There's quite a mix of both good and bad music on Soundcloud, and businesses might get sick of sifting through the rubbish before finding the good stuff. If few companies bother searching for tracks, how will you ever get paid?
Still, it's a really smart and modern solution for both musicians and publishers, so maybe it'll do well after some refinement.
Have you ever wished there was an easy way to make a live music video with your phone?
One solution might be an app called Vyclone. It can stitch together live video from several phones at once to automatically cut a multi-angle video in a snap.
All you do is get some friends together and start shooting in the app at the same time. You don't even have to be friends - a group of music fans at a gig could use Vyclone independently, but it knows you're all nearby and should pull the footage into one video anyway. It works great too - there's something about multi-angle footage that makes even low-grade video look twice as professional.
Vyclone has been out a while, but guitiarist Ed Sheeran is about to crowdsource his next video from a tonne of fans using Vyclone a gig soon. Fans will have a sense of ownership over the video and tell their friends, and then fans can go on to remix their own versions of the video if they're feeling creative.
Finally, let's talk Trent Reznor. He recently gave up on his crusade to release his music independently, and signed back to a major. So why the shift after such a successful run of releases?
It seems Reznor missed having the better exposure which comes with a major label marketing machine.
"We were playing [Prague in 2009], but I see flyers up for Radiohead, who's playing the same place we're playing, six months from then. Then I walk into the record shop, and there isn't a section that says Nine Inch Nails."
He says that it'll be worth giving away some of his profits to a label for the long-term benefits of their marketing, despite making millions from his independent releases.
I have to agree - it's easy to slam record labels for being 'evil' but they're well-oiled machines that can achieve great things. If you're a respected artist like Trent Reznor, maybe a major label is a good place to be.
It's time to open the debate to UG readers:
Would you license your music for corporate use using Soundcloud?
Can a decent music video be shot on a smartphone?
Was Trent Reznor right to go back to a major label?
Let us know your views in the comments, and UG staff will be on hand to answer any questions you raise.
By Tom Davenport (Twitter)