Shutterstock Opens Marketplace For Music – Forbes
Shutterstock, an online marketplace offering more than 35 million photos and videos to marketers and media, is hoping to do the same thing with sounds as it has done with images. The spread of smartphones and increasing speed of wireless networks have spurred an explosion of Web videos and advertising–Shutterstock wants to sell the soundtrack. “Our customers have been asking us for this in a very long time,” says Wyatt Jenkins, Shutterstock’s VP of product. “Video footage is one of our fastest growing products and all that video needs music. It’s such a natural fit.”
The new platform is a natural fit for Jenkins too. A musician and computer scientist, he was a partner and board member of online music store, Beatport (which sells electronic music to DJs) before joining Shutterstock in 2009. Last year SFX Entertainment bought Beatport for $50 million and in December laid off Beatport’s entire engineering team. Jenkins jumped in, signed the old team and started Shutterstock music service. “Those were the guys I had already hired once. We flew into Denver and hired them all—we got 17 engineers in one swoop and opened an office.”
Five months later, the newly acquired tech team has built a slick music platform offering more than 60,000 songs from music partner Rumblefish. In a few months, Shutterstock will begin to sell music submitted by vetted contributors–offering musicians another revenue stream for their songs. Each royalty-free track will cost $49 dollars and can be purchased and downloaded with a mouse click (no contracts to sign, no prices to negotiate). The license lets you use the track in any web video or podcast, broadcasts for up to 1 million people and films that will be shown in one country (the enhanced $419 license has no viewing limits). Vimeo and iStock photo already offer similar services.
Shutterstock’s new music platform, like its photo site, has a simple Google-style search bar that lets you hunt for specific song characteristics like Beethoven or bongos. Enhanced filters let you sort music by mood (sad, serene, sexy), genre (easy listening, hip-hop) and tempo–letting advertising creatives, news editors and film directors find the music that’s the best match for their videos.
Shutterstock, founded by Jon Oringer, made $235 million in revenue in 2013 selling low cost, crowd sourced images to advertisers and news companies. The image industry, dominated by a few players in including photo giant Getty Images, is a $6 billion market–a lot of money, sure, but a low ceiling in the growth-obsessed world of publicly traded tech companies where Shutterstock plays. Aside from continuing to scale the photo business, Oringer has searching for growth in new markets like stock video and how-to films. The push into music makes Shutterstock a one-stop shop for all things media–photos, video, sound–a move Oringer hopes will keep Shutterstock’s revenue humming.