December Spotlight – SongHue
Music licensing for film is a relatively new way for the everyday musician to monetize their music in a substantial way. Though it has taken off on the coasts, we couldn’t find anyone in the Midwest who was curating an online catalog of tracks for filmmakers to license.
We first became aware of Mark Buerlger when he participated in the bi-city film competition between Kansas City and Chattanooga, Capture Filmmaking Contest. Mark was one of the composers selected to be paired with an editor. This team of two would create an original short film using footage uploaded by the public in both cities. It was a strong pairing. Together, editor Kyle Hamrick and composer Mark Buergler won the Best of Show award, the highest honor in the contest. As they say, good attracts good, and on the heels of his win Mark met Todd Davidson of Fountain City Studios and a new venture was born – SongHue. We are visiting with the team at SongHue to learn more about music licensing and their growing roster of Midwest artists.
KCFO: What gave you the idea for a music licensing company for motion pictures/video/media production?
MARK: SongHue started through a film + music collaboration between myself and Fountain City Studios. I graduated out of UMKC in 2015, and was able to support myself making license-able music for film right off the bat! Though I was stoked that a career in music was an option for me, I was also seriously bummed that I was doing it all by myself. This is when I partnered with Todd Davidson at Fountain City Studios to compose music for film in-house.
To simply have a crew to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with was huge to me. Coming from a background of being in bands, and having a close crew of friends in college, I didn’t want to do everything on my own. Sitting in my studio apartment creating music for hours on end was really fun, but it was also incredibly lonely! On top of that, I couldn’t find anyone else who was doing what I do in KC.
After working together on several film projects, we became great friends, and started talking about creating a music licensing agency in KC. This is because we had several music buddies looking at what we were doing at Fountain City Studios, and wondering how they could do it themselves.We also had the epiphany that many of our musician friends didn’t know that music licensing could be a viable way to supplement their income – or even turn it into a full-time living! And rightfully so.
Music licensing for film is a relatively new way for the everyday musician to monetize their music in a substantial way. Though it has taken off on the coasts, we couldn’t find anyone in the Midwest who was curating an online catalog of tracks for filmmakers to license. More importantly, a music agency in the Midwest that was dedicated to creating an avenue for musicians to make a reasonable income and educate them about how to do it. Thus, SongHue was born!
KCFO: Do you have any local competition? What about Midwest?
MARK: In the KC, there are no agencies doing what we are doing. We tediously curate an online platform of amazing artists whose music can be easily browsed, licensed, and purchased to be utilized in film. Within a matter of minutes!
However so, there are AMAZING people in the area who create phenomenal music for film. Substream Music is a well-known crew of composers in KC who really know what they are doing. In Lawrence, Primary Color Music absolutely slays when it comes to making stellar music for film and advertising (and they are a lovely team of ladies + gents to boot).
In the Midwest, SongFreedom in St. Louis is a music agency that curates big name artists for licensing. Artists like Lady Gaga and the Lumineers. Their team is top-notch when it comes to taking care of their customers and artists as well.
What really differentiates us from these agencies, is that we want to curate a high quality catalog of living, breathing, hard-working everyday artists. The ones you’ll run into at a local show, who are busting their butts to fill their gas tanks.
We want to create an avenue of raising financial support for the artists you love, so they can continue doing what they love. Furthermore, we want to mentor our family of artists on a face-to-face level, to be sustainable in their craft through a way they may not know about yet.
KCFO: Tell us about your roster of musical talent.
MARK: As a new company, our roster of artists is ever-growing. With that, the span of music we cover is too. Below are a list of some of our beloved artists, and the genre of music they create. Each have a different story, with different perspectives on why they create the music they do. Please feel free to watch + listen to their works as you continue down this blog. (All the tunes you hear are also currently license-able!)
Braden Anderson of Danger Child
Kristian Giglietti of Ramblin Pan
Spencer Mackenzie Brown
Cory Ryan of Bloom
KCFO: How do clients work with you (musician and license purchaser)?
MARK: For people who would like to license music via our online platform, it’s quite easy!
Use the hue bar, or many of out other search filters, to find a song that fits your needs. Press play on that song to preview it in our online player. You can also download a watermarked version of that song, and try it in your project before you purchase it. If it fits, just add it to your cart, go through the payment process, and the tune will be instantly available in your login portal.
For those who would like us to do the searching for them, they just toss us an e-mail!
Let’s be honest, not everyone has the time to plow through thousands of songs to find something that they like. Especially when we work with advertising agencies, finding something that their respective client likes as well can be a hard task. That’s where we step in. We are your music specialists, and when you describe the type of song you are looking for, we’ll quickly get you set up with a selection of songs that we believe fit!
KCFO: You use a unique search tool on your website – tell us about that (the color bar)?
MARK: Our search tool uses colors, and their associated moods, to filter songs that represent said color + mood. For example: blue is associated with a calm, cool, relaxing mood. So by sliding the hue bar over to the color blue, a wealth of tunes that are calm, cool, and relaxing, will pop up below!
This was born to create a new, but familiar, way for filmmakers to quickly find songs that fit the emotional response that they are looking.
Of course, searching by name, genre, tempo, time-length, etc. are all still options as well!
KCFO: What is next for you?
MARK: We are working on a ton of stuff right now. First and foremost, it’s all about getting our artist’s tracks synced into more TV ads, online videos, movies, and pretty much any other kind of film project there is!
To do this, we are constantly meeting with filmmakers and creatives around KC and beyond. We want to partner with anyone we can to offer high quality music for film. We’ve seen a lot of love from the KC community so far, and are optimistic about where we will be in the future.
We are also working tirelessly to add leverage to our online platform. Improving and increasing awareness about our website will be instrumental in finding potential filmmakers who are in need of high quality, easily license-able music.
Last, but not least, we hold an artist learning event and artist showcase during every quarter of the year. This is to increase artist mentorship and exposure. Our next learning event is already full, and will take place at our studio location in Bucyrus, KS. Our next artist showcase will be on December 20th from 7 PM – 9 PM at the Filling Station Coffee on Johnson Drive – everyone is welcome to come boogie down with us! Free drinks + coffee will be provided. And will also be unlimited… (wink wink). Come meet us, and listen to a couple of our artists play!
KCFO: If a musician wants to be considered – what do they need to do?
MARK: For artists interested in joining our catalog, we just ask that they submit their music to firstname.lastname@example.org. We listen to every submission, and decide as a team if their work has potential for film placements. Should they not, we always disclose a reason for why, and offer advice on what they can do to get there (like attending our quarterly Artist Learning Panels). We want as many artists who are interested in music licensing to succeed, and we work our butts off to make sure that happens!
Website + Social Media Links
Thank you, Mark. We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about SongHue and are excited to watch as it continues to grow!