Having perfected its one-stop-shop licensing platform, New Zealand music publisher Songbroker is ready to go global.
Founded by singer-songwriter and former Native Tongue Publishing NZ GM Jan Hellriegel, the company has just celebrated its third birthday and is now intent on raising its profile in Australia and other international markets.
“We’ve focused on the New Zealand market and on NZ artists, but now we’re at the level now we can now we can go global,” she says.
As well as allowing artists and musicians to showcase their works to the world, Songbroker serves as an easy-to-navigate platform for music users in search for suitable songs and instrumentals for their productions.
Hellriegel believes the primary focus of publisher is to get artists’ music heard and sees the company as being an exporter of music copyright. “And because we’ve got all the rights in one place – which is quite unusual – it’s a really easy website for people to use,” she adds.
Songbroker has already secured international deals for works by a number of its NZ artists and earlier this year opened a Los Angeles office, which is fronted by US-based Kiwi singer-songwriter Greg Johnson.
However, Hellriegel is also keen to extend its reach in the Australian market. “I’m pretty sure Australian production companies will find it really, really useful because of how easy it is to clear our works,” she says. “The other thing is that we will be able to work with Australian artists. We’re not limited to New Zealand only, but there were so many great people here doing amazing things here it was a good place to start.”
Songbroker boasts a diverse roster of artists ranging from established artists such as Sneaky Feeling, the Topp Twins and Goodshirt, through to upcoming newer acts like Beachware and Jaggers X Lines.
“There are lots of young, really interesting artists that most people probably haven’t heard of before but they’re creating this amazing music,” Hellriegel adds. “I feel really good about being able to support them because their work is great and it needs to be heard.”
While Hellriegel is confident that the Songbroker platform will be embraced by international music users, she acknowledges that the NZ market lags behind other territories in copyright term protection.
Although the NZ copyright for a song runs for 50 years after the death of the writer, for the finished work it only covers 50 years from the recording date. In most western countries, the latter term I generally 70 years.
The NZ music industry hopes that the issue will be addressed in the upcoming copyright review and Hellriegel agrees it makes sense for New Zealand to align its copyright terms with its main trading partners.
“From a practical perspective, our law is kind of superseded by everybody anyway,” she says. “You can’t use a track globally on a film globally just because it’s out of copyright in New Zealand, so it is only New Zealand artists that are missing out.”