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Old 01-16-2006, 12:21 PM   #31
trialofmiles
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In an effort to find out what legitimate lyric search services are on the way, I did an email interview with Darryl Ballantyne. I figure you folks here at geek/talk might want to know, since Darryl sometimes posts here. Plus, I link to a thread here at geek/talk where Darryl made some comments.

The link to my interview is here.
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:05 PM   #32
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trialofmiles,

Fantastic stuff. Thank you so much.

I even read your other views on this issue. You DO MAKE some interesting and well conceived points.

I'm not sure if Darryl is still around ?? BUT his site is sure to get some large doses of media/press traffic as this issue plays out. In this respect it would be well advised to fix a few things which may in fact only be temporary glitches:

1. Searching for Lyrics appears to be broken. Try this:

http://www.lyricfind.com/search_our_...le=1&sartist=1

Which produces: "Sorry, LyricFind.com is experiencing difficulties."

2. Update this: "2004 LyricFind.com Inc., All Rights Reserved"

Thanks again for the great stuff and I hope Iv'e not wavered to far off the topic of this thread.
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:42 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve_S
I even read your other views on this issue. You DO MAKE some interesting and well conceived points.
Thanks for taking a look.

Yesterday I had noticed the "experiencing difficulties" problem at LyricFind you mentioned, and emailed him about it. Darryl replied back that he's aware of it, and gave a reason, but I don't want to speak on his behalf, so instead I just sent another email pointing him to this thread. It's not as if I know him personally, but he was very responsive to my interview emails.

Back on topic, I'd like to point out that I'm still unsure what's going to happen with lyrics and tab sites. Even though I trust Darryl's prognostication is accurate, even he admitted that underground sites will still exist. So the question is do the little guys have anything to worry about, and how many of the big sites will be forced to convert over to a licensed model. I guess we'll have to wait and see, because I think even the MPA still hasn't decided exactly what it's going to do yet.

Last edited by trialofmiles; 01-16-2006 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:46 PM   #34
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I'm still around, Steve, but haven't been visiting as much lately since I've obviously been busy

The reason the search is down is because we've recently switched our database to using data from All Music Guide as the basis for our database, and the search was built off of our old database structure. We've been completely swamped with other development tasks that we haven't had a chance to update that yet (and it might yet be another couple weeks before it happens).

There has been a lot said in this thread - wish I'd seen it sooner! - but there are a few things I'll clarify quickly:

1) Yes, reprinting lyrics without permission is certainly illegal. It is NOT fair use (quoting a couple lines, though, would be).

2) Yes, the music industry is planning on selling lyrics. We're the ones doing it. (Presumably there will be more in the future).

3) Yes, there is a way for lyrics sites to easily legitimize themselves - and increase the quality of their site at the same time. LyricFind is authorized to provide content and licenses to lyrics sites on behalf of the publishers. You can do a deal with us and not have to deal with any of the publishers. Ever. And, you can do it at rates that are low enough that you can continue to operate in an ad-supported environment.

4) You can't get a blanket license anywhere. Not from the MPA, not from HFA, not from any of the PROs, not from LyricFind. While we do have licensing for a lot of content, there's always going to be stuff that isn't cleared. If you're getting a blanket license from a certain country...don't expect it to be valid outside that country.


I'm always happy to talk about lyrics (it's my favourite subject ) - if you're running a lyrics site and are interested in becoming licensed (and avoiding those pesky Cease & Desists, which can really ruin your day), give me a call (416-902-8700) and we'll talk.
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Old 01-17-2006, 03:45 AM   #35
Eriky
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Darryl, it's good to hear that someone's finally doing something about this situation. Here are some specific questions that I'm sure everybody would like to see answered. I hope you can find some time for it.

1) Is there any indication you can give concerning the fees?

2) Will it be on a CPM basis or will you base this on the number of songs?

3) Do you provide a worldwide license? Will I be able to say to the local 'MPA' here that I already have the proper licenses to show song

4) Will this license also cover sheetmusic like guitar tabs

5) Will you also provide websites a license for their already present content, instead of providing them content? Will this fee be lower?
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:48 AM   #36
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Good questions. You've hit on some important points - unfortunately, you probably won't like most of these answers!

1) Is there any indication you can give concerning the fees?

Depends which fees you're referring to - the fees we're paying the publishers are confidential. The fees lyrics sites pay us are discussed next...


2) Will it be on a CPM basis or will you base this on the number of songs?

Generally, CPM. In certain situations we can do other models (such as subscription-based), but most lyrics sites would be CPM.


3) Do you provide a worldwide license? Will I be able to say to the local 'MPA' here that I already have the proper licenses to show song

Unfortunately, our licenses only cover the US and Canada.


4) Will this license also cover sheetmusic like guitar tabs

No. We tried, but we're specifically prohibited from getting into that business because the publishers don't want us stepping on the sheet music business. I really don't know what will hapen to tab sites; there really isn't much we can do for them and I'm pretty sure the publishers won't let anyone else do it, either.

The problem is that tab sites are interfering with an existing business, whereas lyrics sites are creating a business. The music industry mentality has always been to protect existing businesses. It might be a long, hard road for tab sites, unless there's something happening I don't know about (doubtful!).


5) Will you also provide websites a license for their already present content, instead of providing them content? Will this fee be lower?

No - sites have to use the content from us. There are a few reasons for this - a) So we know the lyric being used is accurate, b) So we know it is licensed, c) Tracking/accounting, and d) Our publishers access and maintain the accuracy of the lyrics, and will only maintain on copy (it's easier and would end up the same anyway).


Keep 'em coming,

Darryl
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:07 PM   #37
Eriky
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darryl
3) Do you provide a worldwide license? Will I be able to say to the local 'MPA' here that I already have the proper licenses to show songs

Unfortunately, our licenses only cover the US and Canada.
Does this mean international site owners can not get a license, or does it mean you only license for visitors/viewers from the US+Canada?
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:10 PM   #38
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We only license for viewers/visitors from the US and Canada.

Conversely, sites operating within the US and canada must make an attempt to block lyric views from outside those countries.

We are working on getting some worldwide licenses, but those are lower priority at this time - and we'd probably have to pay significantly higher advances!
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:49 PM   #39
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That is good to hear. This will give non-us webmasters a way to pay a fair amount of money instead of getting shut down because of rediculous license costs. Assuming you will charge a more resonable fee of course. What I meant with the first question is: what will you charge? Can you give an indication expressed in CPM (pageviews) or is it too early to say?
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:04 PM   #40
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Our rates vary depending on volume, but in general they range between $1 and $2 CPM. That rate includes us providing sites with AMG data (artist/album/song/etc.) to base their site off of - it's great data and far more accurate than what's out there on sites now!
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:35 PM   #41
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unfortunately, that will price most (if not all?) lyrics sites out of the market
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Old 01-17-2006, 01:44 PM   #42
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Not the ones I've talked to. The pricing was built up based on many conversations with existing lyrics sites as well as with music publishers (and trying to meet their expectations).

I understand that some smaller sites, especially at the higher rates, may have trouble; but that's a startup cost. Larger sites shouldn't have much of a problem as long as lyrics don't make up 100% of their pageviews. Sites that I've talked to have ranged from 30% - 65% lyric views, and all of them could sustain themselves at those price points.

If you site can't reach those levels, you should be reading these forums more
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:12 PM   #43
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$2 CPM is very expensive, whatever way you turn this. With 20K pageviews this means $40/day. Most people come from searchengines these days. THey go directly to the song and leave again. So your calculations are understandable, but very unrealistic for a lot of webmasters.

So, that's $40 x 30 days, $1200/month. You are lucky if you make $2 cpm with a dedicated lyricsite. I do not believe anyone with such a site will have much left after paying that rate. $1 CPM might be feasible though (that's 50% less which is still a lot and almost not worth all the troubles)

The alternatives offered in my country for example will be cheaper. Especially for high traffic sites. They offer a flat fee based on the number of songs (both sheet music and lyrics by the way)
They offer a blanket license as you call it and they are (part of) the biggest music rights organization here so there's no reason for worries on the side of the webmasters in this country. They did their best and paid the money.

I know you say these are not legal alternatives but that's not the webmasters problem. They do pay out music publishers. There's simply no consistency (yet) on this matter in different countries I gues. It'll be interesting to see what's going to happen. Especially on the international side. The non-us webmasters might very well be the ones that will have the most chances of staying in business.

This is all just brainstorming I'm doing here, I'll be happy to hear other thoughts.
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:34 PM   #44
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To clarify, almost everyone would be a lot closer to $1 than $2.

Obviously, with the advent of lyrics licensing, it's simply good business for sites to diversify their pageviews so they aren't paying a licensing fee on a large percentage of their pages. I don't recommend running a site that way in any business. And there are a ton of ways to generate a high enough CPM to cover those rates - take a look at how Salon handles their premium content with their daypass. I'd love to see a lyrics site experiment with micropayments, and another with subscriptions. Not to mention the truly targetted ad sales that can start to happen with legitimate services (lyrics sites could actually call up record labels and sell ads...).

The fact is, most lyrics sites out there right now do a horrible job of monetizing their traffic. It WILL be harder to run a site as a hobby...but you expected that, right?

If you think that getting a pseudo-blanket license in the Netherlands (as someone pointed out, that doesn't even cover Warner-Chappell, the second largest publisher in the world) makes licensing and enforcement "not the webmaster's problem"...you're in for a rude awakening.

I'm sorry if I'm being harsh, but I just want people to recognize and understand the reality that is coming. I don't want to see lyrics sites forced out of business, but I promise you some will be. Others will flourish. It's just business. If you're only bringing in an average of $0.40 CPM and showing 90% lyrics pages, you aren't monetizing your site very well - and we have an obligation to the publishers (and to our investors) to not sell the farm for nothing.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:00 PM   #45
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Darryl, after re-reading the questions I asked you, and reading the latest in this thread, it's obvious why I'm not a journalist.

I'm glad the folks here at geek/talk were able to dig a little deeper with the questions. Let's see if I can address some of the things you've said.
Quote:
Originally posted by Darryl
We only license for viewers/visitors from the US and Canada.
My first reaction to that is disbelief. The lyrics sites we know today are accessible to anyone, anywhere, so it would be a gigantic step back in ease-of-use for only certain countries to be able to access that information.

I realize you say the crackdown will mean lyrics sites will need to start acting more like businesses, and I know businesses are always faced with red tape, but I still can't believe it.
Quote:
The fact is, most lyrics sites out there right now do a horrible job of monetizing their traffic.
And you're saying that because they're not diversifying their content? I understand some industries require diversification, but I have to say that lyrics sites have invasive ads up the wazoo, which would bring in just about as much money as a site can bring in from ads alone. The only other way to bring in more money with just lyrics content is to do your other suggestions: micropayments and subscriptions, and my opinion of this is the same as my opinion of restricting to certain countries. I think it's too restrictive.

I'm going to have to think about this. I mean I realized things were going to change, but didn't think it would affect my end user experience of viewing lyrics this much.
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