With its plethora of short-video apps, and a huge audience on YouTube and other social media platforms, India is home to hundreds of thousands of content creators.
One of the challenges they face are their clips being taken down if rightsholders claim they are making unauthorised use of their music. SyncMama, which launched in April, is marketing itself as the solution to these creators’ problems.
“Traditional music labels overlooked the need of this new class of creators for non-negotiated micro-licenses,” claims the company’s press release.
However, founder Achille Forler says that the platforms that emerged to fill this gap “invested massively into copyright buyouts, or ‘royalty-free’ music, to bypass the royalty system.”
SyncMama, he says, is “the world’s first ‘royalty-included’, AI-powered licensing platform for UGC creators with 380,000 tracks and 20,000 sound effects”. The key phrase here being ‘royalty-included’.
Forler is the France-born, longtime India resident who, in 1996, set up Indian music publishing company Deep Emotions, which was subsequently acquired by the Universal Music Group.
Among those who were instrumental in the 2012 amendments to the Indian Copyright Act of 1957, Forler was inspired to create SyncMama by the clause that states that the author of a literary or musical work shall not assign or waive the right to receive royalties except to their legal heirs or a collecting society.
With SyncMama, subscribers can generate a licence in their name for an unlimited number of productions. The licence is valid worldwide and for the duration of copyright, even after the user’s subscription ceases, thereby ensuring the artists continue to get paid.
SyncMama, which is currently geo-fenced in South Asia, offers two subscription plans for individuals: Solo, “for creators who monetise their own productions”, priced at Rs450 or $6 per month, and Pro, “for freelancers who produce for others”, tagged at Rs1,250 or $16 per month.
What is the AI angle? “On SyncMama, the subscriber uploads a reference track or pastes a YouTube or a Vimeo link, and Maya, our audio similarity search engine, suggests similar tracks and a match percentage,” explains Forler.
The platform also offers an AI text-to-speech voice generator that creates voiceovers in Hindi, English, Arabic plus 14 other languages. Even with these all-in-one features, given that India is among the world’s most price-sensitive markets, it will be interesting to see how many takers SyncMama eventually attracts.
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