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Home » 2012 » October

Giving Songwriters their Fair Credit

At StreetJelly.com we love songwriters as much as we love musicians.  And we also love live, spontaneous music.  Actually, that’s whole point of StreetJelly!  Our musicians play whatever they like, whenever they like, from wherever they like.  StreetJelly has licensing agreements with various songwriter associations, BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, that allow us to stream music from the songwriters they represent on our website.  We pay licensing fees through various calculations based on our revenue.  And we always take these fees away from our budget, not from the tip money earned by StreetJelly musicians.

The songwriter associations then take our fees, along with the 1,000s of other music websites out there, and distribute royalties to the original songwriters.  But with StreetJelly, we don’t quite fit the mold.  Because we are live and unscripted, we never know what our musicians are going to play.  They can be originals or covers.  Most other music websites are streaming saved content from mp3s or videos.  It’s easy for them to know exactly what they play.  The songwriter associations can really only take our lump fees and distribute among their artists through their own magic formulas.  That’s not really fair to the songwriters whose songs are actually played on StreetJelly.

To better approach a world of music fairness (I know, don’t start), we at StreetJelly are asking our artists to self-report what they play.  We made it as simple as we could and created a “Enter Play List” section on the StreetJelly broadcast screen.  In between songs, we encourage our musicians to enter what they have played.  It’s not hard, just takes a few clicks.

But there’s more to it than just self-reporting songs to outside songwriters associations.  Our playlist section is useful for the musician to keep track of what they have played.  It takes a little planning to put together a set play list.  Every musician can totally relate to the, “what should I play next” feeling.  We hope this helps a little.

Covers or Originals?  Both!

We take the data entered in the playlist and send it off to the licensing agencies.  They can then better distribute royalties more accurately with our song lists.  But that list is inclusive for both cover tunes AND originals from StreetJelly musicians.  Assuming our musicians are registered with the above groups (and we encourage you all to do so), our musicians can collect royalties on their original material through these agencies in addition to the tip money made on StreetJelly.

We know we’re not solving all the musical industry’s problems, but ever little bit helps.  And being a good steward of honesty and fairness is probably the most important thing we can do.  Courtesy is contagious!

StreetJelly in Two or Three Paragraphs

Often businesses are asked to describe themselves in two or three paragraphs.  I guess this length is about the size of text that someone is willing to read.  Usually, the descriptions come out sounding like typical corporate drivel and you end up counting all the horrendous buzzwords: best-in-class, customer-driven, paradigm-shift, … oh the insanity!  So here it goes, sit back and be dazzled.

StreetJelly.com is online busking: video streaming LIVE musicians performing by webcam for tips.  That’s it, that’s all it is.  …Dang, 2.8 paragraphs left to fill.

Ok, here are the nitty gritty details.  Musicians, singer / songwriters, vocalists, and all types perform in their living rooms, basements, where ever with a computer and webcam.  Music Lovers watch and chat with the artists, much like in a chat room.  The viewers can purchase virtual tokens which they use as currency to tip the musicians.  Viewers can also use their tokens towards awards, Rocker Pins, to give to the artists.  The musicians then cash out their tokens for real money, sent via PayPal.

That was a tedious paragraph, now for the good stuff.  StreetJelly is about people, musicians actually. Take LanaEve, for instance, who performs often on StreetJelly.  She’s a teenage prodigy from Nashville.  Despite this sounding like a cliche, she really has the voice of an angel.  Want to see the most genuine happy smile?  Say “hello” to her and drop her a token.  Then there’s Maestro from Seattle, an accomplished musician and music teacher from School of Rock.  Maestro will draw you in with his soothing piano and guitar originals.  Before you know it, time has flown by and your day is much better.  There’s also folk music duo Rick and Denise called Amaranth. They put on weekly shows from their home for friends and family around the country.  You will feel like you are with them eating warm milk and cookies when witnessing their “house concerts.”

There are so many more stories, but no room left in our paragraph rule.  But you get the idea, StreetJelly brings you in touch with real people, in real time, in all its raw musical goodness.  Try that with a digital download!