EMI is making some of its artists' content available via an API.
Developers can work with the content in a sandbox environment and propose ideas for applications.
If a proposal is taken forward, EMI will handle the tasks of clearing the necessary rights and marketing the application.
Revenues will be shared between the developer, EMI, artists, The Echo Nest, music publishers and any other rights holders.
Why is EMI doing this?
Because we know that there are developers out there with creative, innovative ideas that can deliver great applications and services for artists and music fans.
We understand developers face hurdles to overcome in getting those ideas to market, so we’re trying to remove those hurdles – particularly in terms of securing the correct licenses from the various rightsholders, in marketing applications, and in accessing content.
Why is The Echo Nest involved?
The Echo Nest provides the API and technical infrastructure. They also bring their deep technical knowledge and music application know-how to the creative process.
What type of applications are we talking about?
It might be an artist specific mobile or web application, or it might be a broader application or web service with multiple artists' content – that's up to the developer.
What type of sandboxes are available, and what content?
Some sandboxes are artist specific, with broad content including audio, video, imagery, and more. There may be a brief for a specific type of application, such as an augmented reality application, or a remix tool. The brief might call for an application for a specific purpose, such as a new album or tour. These sandboxes may only be around for a period of time, and may have a date by which all application proposals must be submitted.
Some sandboxes have several hundred, or even several thousand, audio tracks from multiple artists. An example is the Blue Note Sandbox. These sandboxes carry an open brief for a Developer to come up with an application or service that uses that content. These will be available long term, and a Developer can submit ideas at any time.
I want to use the sandboxes just to play with content and develop my ideas. Can I do that?
Can I play with content in either type of sandbox?
Why not just put the full EMI catalog into a sandbox?
We may very well do that. This is just the first step - we have a few ideas of where this might go, and we're looking for feedback from Developers to help us decide what might work.
What’s the development process?
EMI and The Echo Nest make content available via API
Developer signs up for The Echo Nest API
Developer applies for and is granted access to developer sandbox
Developer uses content to shape and hone ideas, test concepts
Developer submits a proposal for an application
Proposal is reviewed by EMI, The Echo Nest, and the relevant artist (if it’s an artist specific application)
If the proposal is taken forward the Developer builds a beta version
Beta is reviewed by EMI, The Echo Nest, and the relevant artist (if it’s an artist specific application)
If the beta matches the agreed proposal then the Developer builds a production version
EMI will publish the production version in the relevant application store
What do I do if I don’t think my application fits the process described above?
The point of the process is scalability and efficiency, and the process is especially focused on artist specific applications. However, there is scope to discuss proposals that genuinely don’t fit for a particular reason – maybe you've used EMI content to develop a service that needs EMI’s full catalog, or that has an innovative new business model. Let’s talk about it.
Why does my application need approving by EMI or anybody else?
To ensure that EMI can license the content for use, and that all other necessary licenses (including music publishing) are obtained correctly. It also ensures the artist is happy with how their content is being used.
In addition, EMI needs to control the flow of applications to avoid any issues with conflicting messaging or content with the other applications coming through - the review process helps with this and is aimed at preventing a situation where a developer spends a whole lot of time creating an application that doesn't quite fit with other activity. This is particularly relevant to artist-specific applications.
Why is EMI the publisher of the application?
For a number of reasons...
EMI is responsible for paying out to all parties, so EMI needs to receive revenues and reporting from the application store.
In order to enter negotiations with rightsholders, EMI needs to be the party with the retailer relationship.
For artist specific applications EMI is best positioned to market the product as the 'official' application.
EMI has to control the flow of applications to avoid any issues with conflicting messaging or content with applications coming through the process.
But I want to publish my own applications?
There are good reasons why EMI is the application publisher, but we know there may be some exceptions, especially around service type applications that use a broad catalog. Let's talk about it.
Who owns the IP of an application?
Developers retain ownership of their IP. EMI uses the IP under license for the specific instance of the application.
Is there an exclusivity period?
EMI may request a limited exclusivity period of between 3 and 6 months, depending on the application or service. This reflects EMI's input into the process of creating the application, particularly in the case of artist specific applications. After the agreed period, a developer can take the application to other interested parties. Again, we appreciate that there may be certain models where this won't work – let's talk about it.
How much will a Developer be paid?
A developer will be paid the lion's share of 40% of net revenues derived from the sale of the application. Net revenues means after any application store fees, direct technical costs (e.g. streaming and hosting) and sales tax deductions.
Who else gets a share of that 40%?
The Echo Nest will take a small share.
Why does The Echo Nest take a cut of revenues?
The Echo Nest provides infrastructure, knowledge and services - it's only fair that to get paid for that.
Who decides what share of the 40% a Developer will get?
This will be negotiated between the developer and The Echo Nest, and will depend solely on how much (or little) the application is reliant on The Echo Nest’s tools and APIs.
Let’s be clear though – the Developer will be getting most of that 40%.
When will the negotiation on the share of the 40% take place?
When there is a proposal from the developer on how the application will work, and it is clear how much (or little) the application is reliant on The Echo Nest’s tools and API's.
Where does the other 60% of net revenues go?
The 60% is shared between all of the rightsholders, including the music publisher, the artist, EMI, and any other party holding rights for content used within the application.
So, what is EMI doing for its share?
EMI will license the content for use, negotiate clearances from other rights holders (including music publishers), publish the application on the relevant application store, and market the application. EMI will also account and payout to all parties, unless specified otherwise.
So a Developer doesn't have to negotiate with EMI, with music publishers, or any other rights holder?
No, the developer just needs to negotiate their revenue share with The Echo Nest.
Who am I contracting with and for what?
You will contract with EMI and The Echo Nest at the point of entry into the applicable Sandbox by accepting our respective Ts&Cs. These Ts&Cs govern the terms upon which you are authorised to use EMI content. In the event that one of your ideas/proposals is accepted by EMI and The Echo Nest, you will then enter two separate contracts: (i) a short one page side-letter with EMI dealing with exclusivity and marketing; (ii) a short side letter with The Echo Nest setting out all commercial matters between you and The Echo Nest (including payment terms, revenue split, mutual indemnification etc).
Who pays the Developer?
EMI pays the developer and all other parties, unless specified otherwise.
If a Developer is negotiating a share with The Echo Nest, then why not be paid by The Echo Nest?
EMI receive revenues from the application store, it therefore makes sense for EMI to pay out to all parties. The Echo Nest will tell EMI what the negotiated rate is well ahead of any payments being due.
How do I know EMI will market my application – what if they change their mind?
The process involves review points to ensure a collaborative approach. When an application is published it will be because all parties believe in it and want it to work.