Start-up company, Jingle Punks, helps musicians find commercial success
From left, Ethan Goldman, Anthony Martini, Jared Gutstadt and Dan Demole are Jingle Punks. (Garett Sloane)
In simpler times, punks were punks and jingle writers were jingle writers, but no more: Punks write jingles, too.
Many rock groups, musicians, artists and composers are embracing the commercialization of their music as one of the avenues to make money in the changing industry.
In fact, a well-placed commercial hit can launch an artists career. When Apple featured Yael Naims New Soul in a Macbook spot last year, the indie song went to the top of the charts.
The founders of a New York City start-up called Jingle Punks hope they find such success for the artists theyve been recruiting for their online Jingle Player, a product that landed them in Business Weeks Americas Most Promising Startups.Jared Gutstadt, 31, and Dan Demole, 30, founded Jingle Punks in October and have been hustling from their downtown Manhattan apartments to get off the ground.
Their start-up follows the typical entrepreneurial mythology: During a night of drinking they call it the Big Kahuna night they resolved to develop a Web site where musicians could upload music and producers could search the library for the sound theyre seeking.
Also in tune with the tech start-up archetype, one Gutstadt was the creative force, and the other Demole had the geek credentials to build the site.
Gutstadt is a musician and accomplished jingle writer, earning the name Jingle Jared in the industry. Demole once worked on weapons systems for Apache helicopters and he designed the software for the Jingle Player.
When we built it, we knew someone would want to use the Jingle Player, Gutstadt said. Their library has 10,000 songs and they expect 50,000 by next year. Companies pay up to $40,000 a year for rights to the songs. They have closed about a half-dozen deals worth that much, but they also sell music to companies looking for just one song and not use of the whole library.
The Jingle Punks said they are selective about the artists they let into their catalog. They share royalties with the musicians 50-50.
The library is carefully curated for that Jingle Punk sound, Demole said.
We ask ourselves: Do we want these guys to be a part of Jingle Punks? The music has to be commercially viable and culturally relevant, he said.
If you search for Lady Gaga, you dont get a sound-alike you get nine or 10 other bands that just havent been discovered yet, Gutstadt said.
The company is growing by adding music and attracting major media companies. The Jingle Punks count dozens of media outlets and brands among their client list, from ABC to Pepsi.
Their music is featured in the new MC Hammer show Hammertime. Theyve also provided music for MTVs The Hills and History Channel promos, among other spots.
Gutstadt and Demole anointed two other Jingle Punks to help the company. Anthony Martini, 29, with a background in the music industry, helps recruit artists, and Ethan Goldman, 35, with contacts in the media world, opens doors from here to Los Angeles.
The Jingle Player is becoming an easy sell for the crew, they said. Were growing. Were faster. Were cooler, and were more in touch, Gutstadt said.
They market their service as a fresh entrée into a stale world of stock music, in which producers often recycle the same songs.
Producers feel like theyve been swimming in dirty water, because songs have been on five networks and seven different shows, Goldman said.
As for the artists, the Jingle Punks said theyre leveling the playing field for emerging musicians to get their music heard even if it is for commercial use.
Artists have changed their view, Gutstadt said. Where it was once seen as being a sell-out, now you get ultra hip bands like Santigold doing Budweiser commercials.