Grad Profile: @BumperTunes offers licensed, affordable music for digital media producers

Posted by Emma Tzeng on 2012-06-11

Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe. 

This profile on BumperTunes, a Graduate of the Denver Founder Institute, was written by Emma Tzeng. Founded in 2007 by Kit Seeborg, BumperTunes provides licensing and distribution of music for use in audio and video broadcasts.

Just a few years ago, online streaming media entered the Internet stratosphere, taking it by storm. Apple rolled out its iTunes store, offering a variety of third-party podcasts, and online video sharing websites such as YouTube and Vimeo gained momentum at lightning rates. With the advent and swift spread of online broadcasting channels, media producers need efficient, affordable venues to discover and download background music.

BumperTunes, a marketplace for licensed, independently-produced music, aims to help media content creators gain quicker, more affordable access to high-quality, original music files to add to video and audio broadcasts.

Based in Boulder, CO, BumperTunes was inspired by founder Kit Seeborg, a classically trained pianist and composer with extensive website production experience, in 2007.

“About five years ago, when people started producing audio and video for online streaming, I realized there wasn’t a good source of affordable, easy-to-license and easy-to-use music,” Seeborg recalls. “The music that people were listening on these streaming audio and video websites was either unlicensed or of very poor quality. I just knew that we could do better.”

After recognizing the need for a web-based go-to source for broadcasters to find music, Seeborg began partnering with musicians to compose, record, and license music in-house. By paying these musicians for their work and handling the licensing process for songs, BumperTunes protects professional artists by ensuring that they are paid accordingly and that their music is properly licensed according to legal standards.

BumperTunes users simply browse the online catalogue to preview and select song files for download. After songs are selected, users make a one-time purchase for the rights to download and legally use the music in their broadcasts.

Seeborg, who calls BumperTunes “the iStockPhoto of music,” is currently looking into rolling out a subscription model option for more frequent users. In this way, subscription customers can conveniently receive a steady flow of music files for use in a variety of productions. The startup also wants to begin sourcing independent musicians to produce more songs for the BumperTunes library and eventually the BumperTunes platform into an online community hub for musicians, where members can collaborate, critique each other’s work, and network.

In 2009, performance rights licensing generated $155 million in profits. Moreover, distributions for digital performance rights, which include payments to performers and copyright holders for webcasting, satellite radio, and other non-interactive digital music services, increased 55 percent from 2008. In the future as media and entertainment continues to migrate to online platforms, we can only expect the licensing and distribution industries to grow with the trend.


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