With over a decade of experience building startups together, Jarrett Hines and Bryson Nobles have joined forces once again on a venture that could be music to the ears of artists and media buyers alike.
The two launched rightholder.io as a search engine for the music industry. The goal, Hines told Hypepotamus, is to “centralize ownership information and make it easily available for people who need to license music. Because at the end of the day, in order to license music properly, you have to know who owns it.”
It comes down to using tech to make the creative process easier, he added. “One of the big pain points is someone saying: I’d love to use [this song] in this video or this movie I’m producing, but I didn’t get a response fast enough and I couldn’t get the license in time. And so I have to use a fallback song. We want people to be able to tell the stories the way they want to tell them and make sure that the process can get out of the way of them getting their creative vision out.”
A common problem arises when buyers (think TV and film production companies, advertisers, or video game studios) go digging for copyright information about a particular song. “The data is all over the places in different silos…you need to find all the owners and then you connect with them and negotiate a deal individually, and then finally execute that deal,” Hines explained.
Smaller artists might not have the correct paperwork or documents set up, which can further complicate the deal.
Rightholder works as a two-sided marketplace where buyers can search for ownership information or alternative song information. On the other side of the marketplace, the platform works with music publishers to “manage their catalogs and understand where they’re registered around the world,” explained Hines.
The database currently allows users to search over 175 million tracks in their database.
The team graduated from Techstars Music in LA, which Hines said has opened up important enterprise conversations over the last year. Rightsholder.io was also a showcase company at Venture Atlanta in 2021.
Hines is based in Atlanta and Nobles is currently in New Jersey. Atlanta’s prowess as a film production and music hub makes it a unique place to grow a MusicTech startup, said Hines. The team also has a part-time CTO and a number of remote developers helping the business scale.
Rightsholder.io falls under Hines’ and Nobles’ Music Tech Works, which has received funding from Collab Capital, Techstars Music, and Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
Photos provided by rightholder.io