Interview with VNUE CEO Zach Bair in Food & Beverage Magazine.

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Diane Lilli, for an article in Food & Beverage Magazine, about what we are doing with Soundstr.  The headline of the article is spot on:

“The Licensing Revolution:  VNUE’s Soundstr Offers Performance Royalty Reform for Venues and Artists”

Think about that headline for a second.  This is a hot topic, especially as it relates to music streaming – but the gaping hole has been in the “general” licensing category – meaning bars, restaurants, and other brick and mortar establishments.  And yes, radio stations too.

My passion, of course, is bringing fairness to everyone involved, from the artists, writers, and creators, who make the music, to the businesses and stations that play the music. Without reform – and transparency – this cannot happen.  And without accurate tracking, the performing rights organizations – PROs – have no way to really know who should be paid.  With Soundstr, we have the ability to do just that, and we are already working hard on it, with some field deployments to be happening this year.

Read the article below for the full interview, and you can also visit the site here:

F&B Soundstr Article

By Diane Lilli

The next time you enjoy dinner or a drink or a latte, you might just want to thank someone who may be invisible to you but just happens to be changing the very music you hear at public venues across the nation. Every time you spend some quality town in a restaurant, bar or café, or in mall, hotel or casino, you’re probably hearing music, but until now, the way this music is licensed has been anything but transparent – or fair. For the first time, the murky multi-billion-dollar world of music licensing – run by a system that is widely regarded as inefficient at best – is being replaced by a modern, hi-tech, affordable platform that will not only keep your toes tapping while you eat/drink  in public places, but also protect your favorite venue while actually paying the musical artists who created the songs in the first place.

Zach Bair is CEO of VNUE, Inc. (OTCQB: VNUE), a music and technology company creating new revenue streams for artists, and building technology to protect their rights. Bair is an engineer, musician and industry expert who has spent his entire career working in technology, and also as a professional musician and owner of several venues. He said he found out fast how the old-fashioned music licensing system in place today is not only hopelessly out of date but also confusing, threatening and downright unfair to all concerned. Run by “PROs”, which are performing rights organizations, owners of venues sign expensive “blanket license” agreements, which then forced them to pay up big time, or face major copyright lawsuits.

Sounds fair, but the problem with this system is twofold: many of the artists whose music is being played in public places are not getting any royalties, since no one could figure out who was playing which music when/where, and the venues playing the music are being targeted for high fees in an unbalanced, logical way – without any kind of true real-time tracking.

“One day a PRO knocked on my door one too many times,” said Bair. “Their calls and threats were non-stop. I decided there must be a better way to identify songs, and since I was so upset, I literally sat down and wrote up a provisional patent, filed it and started evangelizing it. My idea, which we called the “MiC System” for “Music Identification Center”, came fast, and I was pulling things together along the way. Knowing artists were not getting paid enough – or at all – I started to meet others, like Soundstr founder Eron Bucciarelli-Tieger of Hawthorne Heights, who was not getting paid for his public performances.  It was a no-brainer to bring the Soundstr technology into VNUE.”

Bair’s new program, about to go live July and roll out nationally, is a marriage of technology and transparency. With general licensing unfair, and no accurate way to identify and track music played in real-time, Bair’s new system is the perfect storm of practical hi-tech tracking of each piece of music with a transparent program resulting in lower fees for venues and higher payments for musical artists.

“General licensing is unfair because it is so vague and does not protect musicians,” noted Bair. “There is no accurate way to police it. Currently, they send someone in to “spy” on a venue, and when a song is played they threaten the owners with copyright lawsuits. It’s just the wrong way to do it. Soundstr tracks all music played, so it is more like a utility.  You would pay for what you use.”

With about 160,000 brick and mortar bars and restaurants in the U.S., only a small percentage, perhaps 30 percent according to Bair’s sources, are actually licensed properly for blanket license fees. But in today’s hi-tech age, Bair knew he could use his engineering skills to create an affordable and accurate tracking system that will benefit everyone. And, he believes the PROs will eventually embrace it.

With this new model in place, and set to launch July 1st live on radio stations, the revolution will be music to your ears.

To learn more about how VNUE’s Soundstr can work with your venue, please email Contact@Vnue.com

Main VNUE website:  www.vnue.com

Soundstr website (product specific):  www.soundstr.com

Live Recording Websites:  www.disclivenetwork.com & www.set.fm

Anthony Bourdain

This morning I woke up bright and early, excited that today is Friday, and ready to jump onto my site and write a blog about music, since I had not done so in quite some time.  To my astonishment and utter grief, however, I instead awoke to find out that Anthony Bourdain had taken his own life.

I’m not honestly even sure where to begin.  The wind came completely out of my sails today, and it has been hard to focus on work or really anything else.  No, I did not know the man personally.  But as a semi-regular Sunday night ritual, I let him into my home on Parts Unknown, and I always looked forward to the fascinating stories that he told through his charm and talent.  I am simply shocked and beyond words that there are now only a limited number of shows remaining – and that this amazing person, great talent, and obviously very tortured man – is no longer with us.  Just like that.  I really felt like I knew Tony Bourdain.  It is as if I connected with him on many different levels.

The trend of suicide in this country is at an all-time high.  I was mortified when I found out about Kate Spade just a few days ago; recent musician suicides such as Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, and now this.

The CDC recently released a report that suicide rates in America have increase by 25% since 1999.  That is staggering.  And what is scary, more than half of those who died via suicide had not been diagnosed with any prior mental health issue, according to a CDC deputy director.

And, the report appears to be accurate, in that no amount of fame, fortune or success keeps a person immune from depression and suicidal thoughts.  We as humans need to be more aware of our surroundings and our fellow humans, and educate ourselves on what could be warning signs right in front of us.  We never know the amount of distress that someone else might be in.  They may be acting out and/or reacting in a way that could be counter to what we think as “classic depression.”  But if our heads – yours and mine – are not out of our mobile devices long enough to see these potential issues, then it is just going to continue and get worse.

I’m sure that there are close friends of Tony’s who are wondering what they could have done differently, but I’m not sure there is an easy answer.  Sometimes we simply do not know.  But what I do know is that there are many people out there with love in their hearts that want to help; the key is for the person in torment to seek that help and know that there are those that truly do want to be there for them.  Suicide is not the answer.  It is a painful and devastating thing for the tormented soul to do to their friends and loved ones.

To me, in a way, today is “Black Friday” for me in worst possible way.  It just sucks.  There is no other way to put it.  It is my hope that, through awareness, this gifted man will not have died in vain, and we can raise, and continue to raise, the awareness of this terrible issue.

If you are in distress – no matter how silly or trivial you may think it is, or how embarrassing or personal you believe your situation to be – please, please reach out to someone.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great place to start, if you don’t want to call your friends or family.  1-800-273-8255.  DO NOT WAIT.  They provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And to you Tony Bourdain, I didn’t know you other than how your show brought joy into my home (although I felt I knew you, maybe because of your brilliance), but I am so, so very sorry that you felt like you had to take this final step.  You will be more than missed by your fans and friends around the world, and I hope at least now your soul is at peace.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑