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Old 01-17-2006, 06:16 PM   #46
Darryl
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Dont worry, I hate the idea of geographic restrictions just as much as you. It's horrible, and I make no representations that it's a great solution. As I said, we're working on worldwide rights, but I doubt we'll have any of those within the next year, at least not in any sort of useful numbers.

As for monetization, there's more than what I just mentioned. Look at some of the major sites out there. How many of them are doing the BASIC things - like selling MUSIC? How many are tied into the iTunes affiliate program? Or the MSN Music affiliate program? (Really, they should be in both). What about partnering with music subscription services to refer customers? That's stuff's pretty basic. What about tying in with Amazon or Barnes & Noble to sell related books, bios, CD's, etc? Or AllPosters/Art.com? Some sites may be part of one of those networks, but they should be a part of ALL of them - and they can easily be built in using very little screen real estate.

Also, so many sites bring traffic in but then don't DO anything with that traffic. Once the user views the lyric, there's nowhere to go. Most sites have forums, at least, but they don't push users towards them. Add other features to sites like comments, ratings, user album reviews, polls, newsletters, TAF, etc. etc. etc. It's all simple stuff that will build you a community of loyal, returning users, who will do more than just view one lyrics page and leave. There are tons of people on this forum who have done an amazing job at this, and are willing to share their secrets.

I mentioned earlier a site that shows only 30% lyrics. They do a number of these things to diversify pageviews and monetize the site (though there is still more for them to do). They don't show any invasive ads - you'll get one popup a day, and the rest is text and your standard banner ad.

Their average CPM? $1.50. If people are interested, I'll look into it a bit more and see what their revenue sources are and how it breaks down.

For other lyrics sites following this thread, chip in. What are your pageviews, and what is your average CPM? I'm as curious as ever. If I've been getting a sugar coated story from the sites I've been dealing with, I want to know, and maybe it's not too late to restructure.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:29 PM   #47
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Quote:
How many of them are doing the BASIC things - like selling MUSIC?
Yep. I agree with that part. Existing lyrics sites really dropped the ball on that one. Maybe it wasn't their choice though. Do you know if affiliate programs didn't want to associate with lyrics sites for legal reasons?
Quote:
Most sites have forums, at least, but they don't push users towards them.
Forums are tradionally a poor revenue maker. It builds customer loyalty, which isn't something the current batch of lyrics sites have right now, so maybe it'd help in the long run.
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They don't show any invasive ads
Good. If there's any benefit to this crackdown, it will be to look up lyrics without being bombarded with popups. Even with a popup blocker, occasionally one gets by.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:30 PM   #48
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With all due respect, I think your rates would be suicide for a small website owner/operator. To charge CPM on viewing the lyrics of a song is crazy. There are other more economical and legal ways to legally license the material. You can license it through authorized mechanical license distributors, label reps, etc. Just do some searching on Google, and you will find all the information you need to legally purchase a license for displaying lyrics on your site. Paying CPM on lyrics is just crazy. Anyone who does this should reconsider setting up a site with lyrics.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:36 PM   #49
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As far as I know, music affiliate programs have nothing against receiving referrals from lyric sites. I've spoken to people at iTunes and MSN about their affiliate programs and they've never mentioned anything.

OnlineGuide, could you expand on your post? What are the other legal ways to license lyrics (in North America)? Sure, you can go ahead and negotiate your own licenses with the publishers, if you've got a couple hundred grand lying around to pay advances (and then another couple hundred to build and support the matching, tracking, and support systems). That's always an option.

I'd love to know about other options - it could make my life easier, too! I'm sure everyone else here would love to know as well. We're all ears. Or, eyes.
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Old 01-17-2006, 07:00 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by OnlineGuide Just do some searching on Google, and you will find all the information you need to legally purchase a license for displaying lyrics on your site.
Are you trying to send us on a wild goose chase? If you know of these places, then link them here.

That reminds me, though. Why don't the music publishers make this easier? Darryl, you had to approach them all one-by-one. I realize you (LyricFind) plan on being a middle-man, which would make it easier for others to license through LyricFind, but it's not as if publishers couldn't have used a business model for lyrics that they already do for performance rights.

Look at what ASCAP, BMI, SESAC do. They have blanket licenses for the performance rights of the clients they represent. Seems like a great fit for print rights on the web.
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Old 01-17-2006, 07:25 PM   #51
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There are a few reasons publishers haven't made an easy way to do it - some good, some not so good. It might be hard to explain, but I'll try

The problem with using an ASCAP/BMI/SESAC model for lyrics is that it doesn't actually measure usage, ad with the advent of online use, everything can be (and is) measured. All online deals are currently based on usage and publishers are trying to stick to that structure.

If lyrics usage was priced at a flat rate, I promise you no lyrics site would be able to afford it - because it would be priced at a level focused on digital music services like iTunes and Rhapsody and others, or really large players like Yahoo of Google, and the cost of entry would be crazy. If it's priced low enough that smaller lyrics sites can afford it, they're leaving huge sums of money on the table from people like iTunes/Rhapsody/Yahoo/Google. The only solution is to make it usage-based.

Also, a big reason is the amount of administrative and development work associated with licensing. Publishers (and record labels, and big companies in general) aren't interested in doing 1,000 small deals - they want to do a couple large deals. It's a lot of work (even we didn't realize how much) to coordinate matching and ownership info with the publishers, both for us and for them. (To give you an idea, most publishers don't even know the artists that have performed their songs. They know song name and song writer, and that's it - their meta data is pretty much useless). Not only that, but when you take into account the fact that there are 28,000 publishers in the US alone - it all adds up pretty quick. For a major publisher to go through that process for a couple hundred bucks a month - or even a couple thousand bucks a month - it isn't worth it. Their internal costs of doing the deal far exceed that.

As a result, the publishers need an aggregator - us - to simplify it for them. We match once and update regularly. Also, LyricFind simplifies it for lyrics sites - you can do a deal with us (and do it a lot quicker, believe me) and be up and running in no time, and not have to worry about 28,000 contracts. In some ways, you could say that we ARE the ASCAP of lyrics, though we'll certainly have competition at some point rather than exclusives.

Also, the idea of a blanket license just isn't possible without legislative intervention. The PROs are able to offer a blanket licensing because it's legislated (technically, even ASCAP/BMI/SESAC don't offer blanket licenses, but that's a conversation for another day). There are too many rights to lyrics that just aren't available. For example, EMI has a catalogue that we can't get because back in the 50's they sold an exclusive, perpetual license to it - and there's nothing they or us can do about it. In other cases, they haven't covered lyrics licensing in their songwriter contracts.

In short, the music industry - and the music publishing industry - is a huge, catastrophic mess that's completely outdated and nearly impossible to change for both technical and organization reasons. I could go on forever about it but this post (and this thread) is starting to get pretty long
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Old 01-17-2006, 07:56 PM   #52
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I've been trying to read up on how the publishing business works, and as I understand it, performance rights are not a flat rate. Estimates are made to how much the songs will be played (e.g. radio), performed (e.g. bars), and a rate is applied. So when I say "blanket fee" I don't mean a flat fee, just a fee that'll cover all the songs the organization represents.

But based on what you're saying about how the web allows everything to be metered, it looks like the industry doesn't want to make estimates. They want exact figures. So it's not a matter of a blanket fee being unpractical, it's a matter of the industry squeezing every dime possible out of people.
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Old 01-17-2006, 08:00 PM   #53
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Can't argue with that.

It's also their urge to use actual accounting versus actuarial accounting.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:19 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darryl
Sites that I've talked to have ranged from 30% - 65% lyric views, and all of them could sustain themselves at those price points.
I meant to ask this before. These sites you've talked to. At what point, if ever, will you be able to reveal who your clients are?

Also, back to the topic of selling music at lyrics sites, I just did a quick survey of some top lyrics sites, and looked for links to buy music.

azlyrics.com - Some pages do. It's "powered by ARTISTdirect"

sing365.com - Can't find any

letssingit.com - Sorta
There is a "buy cds" link using an amazon affiliate, but goes to the amazon search for the artist. Making the user click more than once to get to a specific album isn't usually a good idea.

lyricsfreak.com - No
There are no ads either (Did they used to?)

lyrics.astraweb.com - None that I found

Last edited by trialofmiles; 01-17-2006 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 01-17-2006, 11:24 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by trialofmiles
I meant to ask this before. These sites you've talked to. At what point, if ever, will you be able to reveal who your clients are?
When they launch/convert to licensed lyrics.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:52 AM   #56
Czar

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Firstly, thanks for your brilliant input into this important topic, Darryl.

As many others have expressed, I think the aggregation concept will work remarkably well online; particularly when dealing with sites in the small-medium category, or properties that feature lyrics as a complement to their base content. I'm sure that you'll do well as an increasing number of sites decide to take steps to protect themselves legally and to enhance the accuracy of information they're able to present to their audiences. Likewise, I'm certain that you'll receive a great deal of business from members of this community.

While you have mentioned that worldwide licenses are months or years away, do you plan on adding other nations who speak English as their official language to your list any time soon? I'd be interested immediately if you were able to add New Zealand, the UK and Australia to your regions of coverage, for example. The US/Canada coverage level is just too constrictive for many sites and many publishers these days, IMHO.

Again, congratulations. You've jumped upon a brilliant opportunity at precisely the right time. No doubt your perception and perspiration will pay off in no time.

All the best,
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:42 AM   #57
Eriky
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I know of multiple sites that tried to sell albums and such. It just isn't the jackpot you think it is.

Even if you start selling in a very targetted way, like putting the amazon albums list of an artist on that artists page on your site. You still only get a silly 5% of the sales and you sell an amazingly small numbers of albums. I do not know the explanation. Maybe people already have the music when they look up lyrics? Maybe it's the age group that has little money to spend (most lyrics viewers are girls under 18)

What works best is the occasional popup and regular+text ads. Ringtones do good too, but not in the US. If you block everybody outside the US that's one less revenue stream. I know you can start a big community thingy. Fact is that most of the times, your average CPM's will drop and your hosting costs will go up. A community of teenagers is just not worth that much as you think.

Of course, we all know why this is happening. The music industry wants control as always has been the case. They want a few big companies to provide these lyrics, preferably besides the albums and songs that are sold.
They want all current sites off the internet. They want to make these sites look like criminals by forcing them into illegality.

So as a dutch guy, I wouldn't be able to look at my own site? That's silly. And I do think this will stimulate both legal (in that specific country) and illegal sites outside of the USA.

I hope you prove me wrong. $1 CPM can be done, but is still too much. $0,50 CPM would be perfect and worth the work and hassle for the average and larger sites. Blocking the entire world is not an option either for most websites. I think I can speak for a lot of sites. I know multiple webmasters from Europe in this specific area.

Last edited by Eriky; 01-18-2006 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:49 AM   #58
Darryl
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Czar,

Our next phase will likely be Europe and Australia/NZ if we can't go straight to worldwide.

Eriky,

The industry does not want current sites off the internet - they want them to become legal and pay royalties. I'm sure the enforcement with force some sites further into the underground (this would be the case regardless of the price), particularly those operating outside the US and Canada.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't like the US/Canada restriction any more than you do, or anyone else. It hurts our business, too. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it right now.

As for affiliate sales - don't put the focus on selling ALBUMS (though it should be there) - I'm talking about selling digital music...really, does anyone still actually use those shiny plastic discs anymore?
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Old 01-18-2006, 12:40 PM   #59
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WOW!

The quality meter is off the scale. Congrats to ALL. Iv'e learned a ton of stuff Please "sticky" this thread.

Question:

Is the "Music" demographic condusive to a Publisher selling their own advertising directly to Companies?

Our very own "theGauntlet" runs a "Music" site so perhaps he and others could chime in with some thoughts, since I have no direct experience with this Demographic.
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:47 PM   #60
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I just reread an article published last month, and am curious if the statements I quote below contradict what Darryl is saying about blanket licenses not being practical.

Labels Target Lyrics Sites
Quote:
"What’s needed is a blanket lyrics deal."

But that might be in the works, according to the MPA's Mr. Keiser, who said he had no idea of the size of the demand for access to online lyrics until the angry emails started pouring in last week. He said he found some of the criticism constructive, especially suggestions to make deals with online music sellers like Yahoo and iTunes.

Mr. Keiser noted that members of his organization, along with ASCAP and music licensers Harry Fox Agency, have been working on standard lyrics license rates for the last year or two. Both licenses and legal actions will be more effective if the many music publishers work together, he said.
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