CREATIVE ECONOMY

Move over stock music: Soundscape.io puts heart and soul into soundtracks

Hailey Eisen - September 11, 2019 Jason Greenberg, founder and CEO of Soundscape.io, got tired of churning out stock music in Hollywood. Now he supports authentic music with heart.
SHARE

Jason Greenberg has always believed in the power of music to move and inspire. But like many musicians, he found himself, early in his career, torn between making a living and creating music from the heart. 

The founder of Soundscape.io graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2003, and landed his dream job, working in Los Angeles as a film and television composer. He was excited to create scores that would augment the work of actors and directors, taking audiences on an emotional journey. And he entered the field wide-eyed and optimistic. 

But what Greenberg found in LA wasn’t the work he’d been expecting. While his music was featured in many notable productions including the award-winning travel series Departures and CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, among others, he wasn’t happy with the way he was creating music. 

“There was a huge amount of pressure to crank out multiple pieces of music a day,” he recalls. And, as a result, the first thing to go was quality. 

“We were creating stock music without heart, and I quickly got tired of it.” 

A leap of faith and a pivot 

Greenberg decided to move home to Toronto and follow his passion, working as an artist and creating indie electronic music

What followed was the start of a business that would turn the traditional stock music industry on its head, putting the artist and the quality of music front and centre. It began with Greenberg licensing his own original music to indie filmmakers and others who didn’t have the budget for original music. 

“We were creating stock music without heart, and I quickly got tired of it.”

– Jason Greenberg, founder and CEO

“I would own the rights to the music, and re-license it to clients,” he says. “And from there I started reaching out to other artists in my network – from school and tours I’d been on – and adding their music to my library as well.”

It was 2007 and his boutique music production, publishing and licensing firm began to gain traction. Through Soundscape Media Inc., he realized, he could disrupt the way music is created, produced, discovered, purchased and used in the industry and create a model that was more supportive of artistic expression. 

“Everyone in the music industry has tough times and requires multiple streams of income – from teaching to going on tour…and licensing is another outlet to help them survive,” he explains. 

Essentially, Greenberg was taking music already created by artists, and licensing it for film, TV, video and advertising use. Producers would pay a fee to use the music – but artists would maintain ownership of the songs. Soundscape would pay the artist for the use of the music and take a cut of the fee for managing the relationship. 

A tech company is born

Then, in 2018, Greenberg decided the time was right for another pivot.  

Enter Soundscape.io – a subscription-based music licensing SaaS platform, specializing in licensing authentic and affordable music for film and video. “That was the year we [made it] a tech start-up, and things really began to change,” Jason recalls. 

“Everyone in the music industry has tough times and requires multiple streams of income…and licensing is another outlet to help them survive.”

– Jason Greenberg

Now that Soundscape was a tech company, not just a music library, Jason realized he needed more support to take things to the next level. He brought Evan Abeele – a Guelph-born musician – on in a partnership role as chief marketing and business development officer, and Francis Coral Mellon, their funding lead and strategist.

“I had just moved to Waterloo, as my wife and I were starting a family and we were looking for more space and tranquility,” Greenberg recalls. “Looking back, it was the perfect place to be as a tech start-up. The local resources were incredible.” 

For Abeele, joining Soundscape.io was a no-brainer. “It’s rare to see a music-based company locally, usually they’re in major cities like Toronto or LA,” he says. “I was intrigued by what I saw Jason doing here in Waterloo and I thought his platform was brilliant so I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.” 

With a team by his side, and a team of eight working toward the company’s growth, Greenberg positioned Soundscape.io for big things. But, first there were some kinks to iron out in the original platform, and a new version launched in May 2019.

Forward motion 

As for challenges – there are still many to overcome. But it’s nothing the pair can’t handle. “Given the entertainment industry moves insanely fast, and we’re a small start-up, we have to iterate at a speed that can accommodate where the industry is moving toward,” Abeele says, “and continue to innovate within the company.” 

As a start-up, Soundscape has been fully bootstrapped, and Greenberg hasn’t had to seek any external funding. But earlier this year he was in acquisition talks—something he wasn’t exactly ready for but says he had to explore further.

“Our true value hasn’t been manifested yet and there’s so much higher for us to go.”

– Jason Greenberg

“It turns out we weren’t ready for a full acquisition and we’re now in partnership talks instead,” he explains. “Our true value hasn’t been manifested yet and there’s so much higher for us to go.” 

As for his future goals, Greenberg’s remaining true to his number one priority – providing quality music to help tell stories. “Music is so power powerful and it makes people feel what a director wants them to feel – but it has to be done right,”  he says. 

While many artists submit music online to Soundscape for consideration, they only accept a small percentage. It has to be good, and it has to work for their clients. Quality and artistic integrity remains their number one priority. 

DRAFT CARD

Draft Card Logo
  • Name: Soundscape.io
  • Solution: A subscription-based music licensing platform providing affordable, authentic artist-driven music for film, tv, video and advertising
  • Owners: Jason Greenberg
  • Employees: 8
  • Headquarters: Waterloo, Ont.
  • Founded: 2007/2018
  • Initial investment: None - 100% bootstrapped
  • Revenue: ~$500,000 this year
  • Contact: [email protected]
SHARE

Suggested Content: