Professional songwriters often have hidden gems — their amazing songs that never get recorded. Artists, especially emerging and independent artists, want to find these gems, but they lack connections to songwriters and publishers.
Rocket Songs is changing this, democratizing how artists find songs by offering licenced, high-caliber tracks via the world’s first online marketplace for original songs written by songwriters for artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Willie Nelson, and Celine Deon.
Rocket Songs’ CEO John Cesario, award-winning songwriter and music tech entrepreneur, and President & Creative Director Jonathan Stone, longtime music publishing executive at Sony ATV and Windswept Pacific, designed a completely new system that marries songwriting and performing in a way that is not only fair to all parties but also completely respectful of the creative process. Using their extensive network and decades-long industry experience, Cesario and Stone have gathered a giant library of high quality, completely original songs from professional songwriters and publishers around the world. They turned that library into a treasure trove of opportunity for emerging and independent talent — approximately ten thousand songs, any one of which an artist can license and record for themselves, interpreting the work from scratch or using some of the recorded tracks provided to get them started.
“One key element of our business is that if you are a recording or performing artist, and you can’t write and record a song from scratch, we offer you not just the composition but the entire music bed,” explains Stone. “If you hear a song in our catalog and you think you can sing the heck out of it, you can purchase an upfront license, download the music bed from our website into your DAW, and record your own voice on it.”
The idea for Rocket Songs developed over many years and conversations between Stone and Cesario, as they lamented the fact that even a successful, professional songwriter rarely has more than 10% of their songs cut as a recording. The rest of their well-crafted works ended up in a publisher’s vault. “As a songwriter, you think every song you write is a hit and you think, ‘why don’t people record this?’” says Cesario, who wrote for artists like Fleetwood Mac, Eddie Money, and Dave Mason during his time at Arista Music Publishing. “The majority of the songs I wrote would get pitched to artists and publishers, but too often they would fall through the cracks.” With Rocket Songs, songwriters’ untapped songs can now inspire artists from any background, place, or musical style, to perform them as they see fit. The early response from artists around the world has been notable, with Rocket Songs users now spanning 125 countries.
Stone has worked hard to make sure there are strong, well-crafted songs to choose from, songs written by some of the most sought-after songwriters today. As the former president of Windswept Pacific Music Publishing, which published songs from the likes of Bruno Mars, Kings of Leon, The Spice Girls, Corinne Bailey Rae, Snow Patrol, and Pete Townsend (to name a few), Stone knows a good song when he hears one.
Artists can search by anything from tempo to mood to find the song that fits their needs. When they do, they can decide on the level of license (just the song? the song and the backing track? the song and its stems? or an exclusive, which would limit future recordings?), pay a reasonable licensing fee, and the song is theirs to record that instant. Songs all fall under a single license, making purchasing simple and worry free.
Artists can change the song’s genre, adjust the lyrics and melody, and even translate it into a new language, all under the same agreement. Artist and songwriter both stand to benefit, as they share future royalties from any commercial release of the recording.
“What we are selling is the ability and the opportunity to make a great song,” said Ezra Greene, who heads up Marketing and Product. “We have streamlined every part of the process to make it as easy as possible for an emerging artist to get an original song and make it their own. We’re basically transacting in an aspirational product — and that is exciting and completely different. We are about access and empowerment. Allowing musicians unprecedented access to troves of songs, and empowering them to find ones they are passionate about.”