4 Ways Conscious Consumers Can Lead Social Impact via Music Licensing

In his second essay on the ideas behind Track Club, Marmoset’s new music licensing subscription app, CEO and Founder Ryan Wines (he/him) explores four specific ways conscious consumers can harness their purchasing power when choosing a music partner to lead social impact in the music licensing space.

Track Club, Marmoset’s new music licensing subscription app with 100% customizable music, will launch on March 1, 2022. Each week, we’ll publish a new essay with key insights from Ryan on the ideas powering Track Club, and what makes the app truly unique among competitors.

There’s perhaps no industry in greater need of disruption than the intersection of music, media and technology. That’s where my company and most music licensing companies exist today. 

These industries have long been dominated by a homogenous 1% – the elitist class of power brokers and gatekeepers who’ve prioritized and protected the individual success of a select few, above artists, clients, consumers, workers and the greater ecosystem. Unfortunately, we’re more than 100 years in and yet so little has changed. 

The good news is consumers of music licensing have more power than ever to lead the radical change that’s so desperately needed in our space. Discerning who to partner with and why is a direct path to meaningful, systemic change of epic proportions. 

Here’s four specific ways conscious consumers can lead social impact via music licensing:

1. Talk with artists to better understand music licensing companies’ values and impact.

Have you ever dined at a restaurant where the chef visits your table and explains the details and nuance of your meal? That experience is accessible with music too. All you have to do is ask. 

Connecting with artists today is as easy as sending a DM. And when you do, you can ask about their confidence and trust in the music companies they work with. Ask about their experience and expectations in terms of transparency, ethics and equity. Ask about the impact to their lives. 

At Marmoset our top 50 earning artists combine to average more than $65k per year, with the top 20 averaging close to six-figures annually. Artists from underrepresented groups in our  top 50 income earners rose 30% in 2021, up 148% since 2018. 

2. Get curious and talk with employees at music licensing companies to truly discern company values and impact.

Everyone is accessible on LinkedIn or via company email these days, including employees at music licensing companies. When you connect, be sure to ask:

  • What are the culture and benefits are like? 
  • Can employees afford to buy homes, support families and enjoy paid time off? 
  • Are they supported with parental leave and sabbaticals? 
  • Do they feel safe and empowered to speak up? 
  • What’s the turnover rate? 
  • Are profits shared with staff? 

Worth knowing: B Corps prioritize workers and their families above profits, and are worth prioritizing as you explore music companies to work with. As part of the B Corp certification process, companies are evaluated for their contributions to employees’ financial security, health and safety, wellness, career development, engagement and satisfaction. At their best, B Corps design business models that benefit their workers.

3.  Integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into your purchasing decisions by learning about DEI practices at the music licensing companies you do business with. 

The next time you engage with someone at a music licensing company, ask questions, and then pay attention to the tenor of their voice as they answer. My favorite question to ask is “what does equity look like inside of your organization?” You can also ask about the people, hours and resources they commit to diversity, equity and inclusion work. Are leaders putting in the work? What’s the commitment at the top of the organization? You can also learn something by pursuing the staff page on a website or LinkedIn, specifically looking at leadership and senior, higher paid roles in the organization. Have you considered prioritizing music from underrepresented people, when choosing a song for your next project? 

4. Talk is cheap. Demand transparency.

Unfortunately, there’s very little transparency in our industries. Companies can boast and say practically anything they want. For instance, a CEO can shout to the mountain tops that they paid artists $100,000,000. But without transparency no one can ever really know if it’s true or not. And even if it were true, what if 95% of it was paid to a homogenous group, maintaining the same social structures, stereotypes and gatekeepers that have long dominated the industry for the past 100 years? 

Transparency gives everyone a clear line of sight through an organization with objective measurements and context to help understand what’s really happening behind the scenes. Transparency serves as a litmus test for seeing if actions align with creative copy on the website and in emails.

Internal transparency matters too. Companies with high integrity are open and honest internally with their staff, disclosing things like profit and loss statements, company spending, equitable pay ranges, staff demographics, turnover rates, and all the brutal facts. In my organization, every employee at every role and tenure level is empowered to ask about, see and scrutinize these facts for themselves. Without transparency, there’s no accountability. 

You are not alone. There’s power in numbers.

With transparency comes trust. According to a recent survey, 66%of consumers believe transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand.  According to a recent Harvard Business School research study, 77% of consumers are motivated to purchase from companies committed to making the world a better place, while 73%of investors say efforts to improve the environment and society contribute to their investment decisions. 

All of that to say, you are not alone. The power of your purchasing decisions, including where you go for music licensing, has never been greater than it is today. 

Marmoset’s 20 year vision, also known as our BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is to be THE positive disruptor of our industry, leading the way in: 1. Community Impact, 2. Creating & Curating the Highest Quality Music, and 3. Fighting for Equity in everything we do. 

Power to the conscious consumer.


PS: Sign up to be the one of the first invited to Track Club at www.trackclub.com – the world’s first ever meticulously curated, small-batch music licensing catalog that’s 100% customizable.

Learn more about Track Club, and sign up for the beta program from the link in our Journal Post: https://lnkd.in/ggTS76hR

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