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Friday, March 26, 2010

 

When music tracks are removed from our catalogue

I wanted to write a little note about what happens when we remove a track, or several tracks, from our catalog of royalty-free music and why this is sometimes done.


We like to try to keep our catalog fresh and current. When we started Shockwave-Sound.com back in March of 2000, there were some stock music companies out there still selling music from the 1980's. This really gave us an edge over them, because while they were selling music that sounded dated, we sold fresh, new, contemporary and up to date music. It's fair to say we were a breath of fresh air.

It is now 10 years on, and we are acutely aware of the dangers of going into the same trap as those guys with royalty free music from the 80's. In another 10 years, we don't want to be selling music that's 20 years old. For this reason, we will always "prune" our catalog and we will occasionally remove tracks that are either getting old, and/or haven't made any sales for a long time.

From time to time, the composer himself may choose to have his music removed from our site. Most of the music we have online is signed to us on a non-exclusive basis, which basically just means that the composer is "lending" us the tracks and we pay the composer a royalty for each time the track is sold through our site. This non-exclusive contract has a minimum term of one year, after which either party can decide to end the contract.

Although it's pretty rare, it has happened that a composer decides to have his music withdrawn from our site and do something else with the music instead. For example, he may have received an offer to sell the tracks completely to a production company, or been offered a contract to release the music on a CD album through a music publishing company. If a composer asks to have his music removed from our site, we obviously comply with this, so long as the one-year minimum term has been fulfilled. For example, this week we removed all stock music tracks by David Leckenby on his request - which is what prompted me to write this article.

But what happens to the lifetime license if you're already licensed a track from us, that we or the composer decided to withdraw from sale? Don't worry: Your lifetime license is safe. As part of the written contract that we have with all our composers/contributors it is specifically stated that all licenses that we sell through our site shall last in perpetuity, even if either party decides to end the relationship and withdraw the tracks from sale. So if you've licensed a track from us last year, and that track has now been removed from sale, the license you already purchased is still good, and it will be so, in perpetuity.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

 

GoDigital Media Group music ownership claims

Last fall around October/November, we here at Shockwave-Sound.com started to receive emails from worried customers who had licensed music from our site, used the music in YouTube videos, and received notifications from YouTube stating that the music "contains music owned by GoDigital Media Group".

We were unprepared for this and very much puzzled, because this was music actually owned by our own company, Lynne Publishing, and some of it composed by Shockwave-Sound.com manager Bjorn Lynne, personally.

After a bit to and from, it turned out that this situation was set in motion by a stock music distributor called Audiosparx having set up a "Ad Sharing Program", in which composers were supposed to receive micro payments from YouTube after YouTube had put advertising on vidoes that contained this music, and that this program by default included all music that was listed at AudioSparx.

Audiosparx has submitted 15,000 music tracks to GoDigital and GoDigital are using "fingerprinting" recognition on music playing on YouTube. When a match is found, YouTube sends out a notice to the video uploader claiming that the video contains music "owned by GoDigital" (although the wording has lately been tweaked to "owned or licensed by.."). YouTube puts advertisements on the video, and pays money to GoDigital Media Group -- all of which is happening without the permissions of the composers or publishers who actually own the music.

AudioSparx, to their credit, when they found out the kind of serious problem this setup was causing, they pulled the plug on the whole program, apologized, and withdrew from the deal with GoDigital. This happened in early January, but, unfortunately, as of February 12, the problem has not been solved. GoDigital are currently monetizing royalty-free music without permission from the composers or publishers. Apparently there is some technical problem with getting the music removed from their databases, and this has been their line since January.

We here at Shockwave-Sound.com would like to apologize to any customer who has legally licensed music from us, only to receive disturbing copyright dispute emails from YouTube. Let me assure you that all music licensed through Shockwave-Sound.com is 100% legally licensed to you and that GoDigital Media Group have no genuine rights to claim any ownership over the music.

On a personal note, I have to say that it's disturbing for me to actually compose and produce a piece of music myself, play all the instruments myself, mix and record everything, publish the music through my own company.... only to be told that some company I had never even heard of is claiming ownership over the music and making money on it -- and at the same time sending disturbing copyright messages to my customers who licensed the music from my own site. And all the while, without a penny coming my way.

We will keep asking GoDigital Media Group to stay off our music, and we hope that the problem will clear up very soon. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused to our customers.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 

Shockwave-Sound.com goes High Definition for stock music

It's not 1985 any more. 

It has actually been around 30 years since the Compact Disc came on the market, we all went out and bought Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" on CD and were amazed at the crystal clarity of the sound. And with the invention of the CD came the digital audio standard: 16-bit sample depth, and 44100 Hz sample rate. This "standard" has stuck with us for an incredible amount of time.

Since then, the professional audio- and video production community has more or less made the move up to High Definition, High Resolution sound. Studios now generally work in 24-bit and at sample rates of either 44100, 48000 (probably the most common these days), and sometimes even 96000 or, to be extreme, 192000 Hz.

Here at Shockwave-Sound.com this January, you'll more and more often be seeing this symbol:




When you see this symbol attached to a product (be it an individual track or a ready-made collection), it means that this product is available in High Definition, 24-bit audio.

We don't charge more for the High Definition, 24-bit WAV files than we do for the normal, CD-quality, 16-bit WAV files.

Every purchase of a 24-bit WAV file also includes the 16-bit "normal CD-quality" file. We mark these products as (wav24) in our product listings. For example, you may see a track that looks like this:




You'll notice the "HD" logo showing as part of the track description, and you'll notice that some (or all) of the WAV versions are now called (wav24) instead of just (wav). The (wav24) description means that with this purchase you will be able to download a .zip file that contains the chosen music track/version in two files: One high definition 24-bit file, and another file with the same music in "normal" CD-quality, 16-bit sound. Just in case some of our customers are still working with editing equipment or media players that cannot handle 24-bit sound.

We do not upsample 16-bit to 24-bit:

Though some, in their eager to supply customers with fancy 24-bit files, might be tempted to simply convert existing 16-bit files up to 24-bit, we never do this. Converting a file from 16-bit to 24-bit ("upsampling" it) does no good at all. It does not improve the sound quality over the 16-bit version. It merely increases the filesize.

It's important for us to stay honest about this and be transparent about what music was actually produced, recorded, mixed and mastered in 24-bit, and what music was not. Whenever you see the "HD" logo on our site and you see music offered in 24-bit High Definition audio, that music was always created (recorded, mixed, mastered) in 24-bit resolution.

We have asked all our contributors to "get with the times" and to work in 24-bit format as much as possible from now on.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

 

Getting discounts on royalty-free music

Here at Shockwave-Sound.com we regularly get asked this question: "Do you offer bulk discounts or educational discounts on your royalty-free music?" -- or variations on that subject. So I thought I'd post our answer to this here in the blog.

Affiliates get 10% off everything:
First, there is the 10% affiliate discount, that anybody with a website can get. Basically, you sign up with our Affiliate Program under which we pay you 10% of the value of all orders placed by anybody who has followed a special affiliate link from your website to ours -- including your own orders! When you sign up, we will give you a unique link that you place on your website. If somebody follows that link and ends up buying a product on our site -- no matter how small or large the order -- we will pay you 10% of the order value. Many of our regular customers use this program to basically earn themselves a 10% discount on all their orders. Before placing an order on our site, they arrive at our site by following their own affiliate link - thus effectively getting back 10% of their order value, with the added bonus of also getting 10% of any orders placed by anybody else who might follow that link and end up placing an order with us.

I should add at this point, that whilst you are welcome to use our affiliate program for your own orders to earn yourself the 10% discount, we do require that you actually place the link on a public page on your website, so that other people can use the link, too. You can't just keep the link only for your own use.

To become a Shockwave-Sound.com affiliate, just go to our Affiliate sign-up page and fill in the form there.

Bulk discounts on ready-made collections:
Now, as for larger discounts and bulk discounts. What is "Bulk order"? Unfortunately, we don't consider 3 tracks to be bulk. Nor 5 tracks, really. Nor even 10 tracks. If you're placing those kinds of orders, please consider using the affiliate program described above, to get yourself 10% discount on everything.

However, if you buy 5 or more ready-made collections, we would accept that this is a bulk order and we are prepared to give the following discounts:


Number of collections
with Standard License:
with Mass Market License
* Any 5 collections:
US$ 439.00
US$ 999.00
* Any 10 collections:
US$ 799.00
US$ 1999.00
* Any 15 collections:
US$ 1049.00
US$ 2499.00
* Any 20 collections:
US$ 1299.00
US$ 2999.00
* More than 20 collections:
contact us
contact us

These collections are normally either $99/$129 each with Standard License, or $249/325 each with Mass Market License. Each collection typically contains 10-15 tracks, plus all the different edits/versions/cuts of every track, to give you options in editing (such as 60-secs version, 30-secs version, Loops, Stingers etc.) You can see a complete list of our ready-made collections here: http://www.shockwave-sound.com/collections.html

The collections can be delivered to you as physical CDROM/DVDROM’s, on an external USB hard drive or a USB memory stick – whichever you prefer.

Should you be interested in taking us up on either of these offers, please get in touch with us. These "bulk orders" of 10-15-20 or more ready-made collections are not available to buy through the shopping cart on the site. You'll have to talk with, us or email with us, to discuss your selections and arrange payment.

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