Anara Publishing are pleased to announce our new partnership with Pretzel, a music licensing platform for livestreamers. This means that our catalogue is now available for their users to use within their videos and that our songwriters are fairly compensated for the use of their music. This year, we have seen a huge increase in the amount of livestreamed content, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, and so we are excited to be part of Pretzel’s journey.
Our Director Deborah Smith spoke to Pretzel’s COO Tom Riley about their work to create a robust music licensing system for games livestreams.
What is the Pretzel story so far?
Tom: Pretzel is a music streaming solution for live streamers on Twitch. We ensure that our users are safe in the knowledge the music they stream via Pretzel has been licensed correctly and most importantly, rights holders are compensated fairly. The Pretzel team went full time in early 2020 and since then we’ve had a period of rapid growth and interest. We’ve expanded our music catalogue quite substantially and also build a custom back end clearance portal that allows us to work with music that has multiple fiduciaries, something extremely important when you want to work with commercial catalogue. We launched our new beta player on August 1st 2020 that has over 40 brand new music stations for our users to use in their live streams. We are continuing to develop relationships with artists, labels, distributors and publishers to further expand our catalogue and offer a wide array of music for our users.
What platforms are you currently working with?
Tom: Right now we are only offering licenses that cover music use on Twitch. We anticipate adding other live-streaming services like Youtube and Facebook in the future.
For songwriters and artists, what are the benefits of having their music available on Pretzel?
Tom: Great question. We currently offer several ways of compensation for songwriters and artists. Let me start by saying Pretzel has two user groups, free users and premium users. Our free users have something called ‘mandatory chat attribution’ which means every time they broadcast a song on Twitch, Pretzel makes a post in the chatbox that includes the artist name, track title and a link to purchase or stream that track. The rightsholder can direct the traffic to wherever they’d like those click-throughs to go, most of the time that is Spotify. This is a great way of exposing music to new audiences but also a great way to direct traffic to artist pages. In July, we converted just over 6m music streams to 162m impressions and 900k click-throughs to Spotify.
Secondly, we pay royalties on premium streams. Premium users have access to more music and features and have to pay $15 a month for the privilege. We then pool this subscription revenue into a centralised pot and payout every month on a pro-rata basis. 70% of this subscription revenue goes directly to the rightsholders, and we split that 70% between master and composition owners evenly.
Finally, there is our ‘Song Requests’ feature. This is a way that we monetise the views of the broadcaster. Viewers can pay ‘bits’ (Twitch’s digital currency) to request a song to be played on their favourite live streamers broadcast. The minimum amount for a request is 100 bits ($1), but viewers can pay anything up to 10,000 bits ($100), and this gets split in the following way. 80% goes directly to the broadcaster, 14% goes to the rightsholders and 6% remains with Pretzel.
Our mission is to ensure rightsholders are compensated fairly whenever their music gets used on Twitch. The decision as to where a rightsholders music is placed within Pretzel is the rightsholders prerogative with some opting to keep all of their music in Premium, behind a paywall. We advise on granting full access so that rightsholder can harness the incredible marketing potential Twitch offers as well as getting paid royalties for premium streams.
What does the future hold for live-streaming?
Tom: There’s a huge opportunity for musicians in the live streaming market, but it’s really important we make sure rightsholders are compensated fairly and that’s what Pretzel is all about. It’s never been easier to become a live streamer with huge advances in technology and internet speeds so we anticipate more and more content creators will turn to platforms like Twitch. We welcome rightsholders from all around the world to partner with us on this exciting new journey.