Known as the “LinkedIn for musicians”, Vampr is an app that facilitates music discovery, networking, and communication between musicians and industry professionals. Expanding their features, Vampr has launched a new publishing division that provides members with free sync representation.
Independent artists can now submit their music for placement in film and television, advertising, and video game soundtracks through the app. There are no upfront costs for the artist, the contract is non-exclusive and non-binding, and Vampr provides a game-changing 75% royalty to the artist on placements. Not to mention an artist can easily submit their music with just three clicks.
Founded by Australia’s The Music Network’s 30 Under 30 Power Player, Josh Simons, and multi-award-winning songwriter/guitarist and tech entrepreneur, Baz Palmer, the award-winning app is home to over half a million users and is active in every country. Vampr has helped fledgling musicians broker over five million connections worldwide. Since its launch in 2016, the company has been recognized by various industry leaders including being named in Apple’s Best Apps of the Year and winning the SF MusicTech Summit.
American Songwriter spoke with co-founder and CEO of Vampr, Josh Simons, to learn more about the app and the new sync feature:
AS: What inspired you to create a sync representation feature? Beyond that, what led you to offer it for free?
Josh Simons (JS): I come from a family deeply entrenched in the world of music publishing, from my grandfather Cyril whose 50-year career included serving as the Managing Director of Universal Music Publishing Group and Chairman of the PRS, to my father Tony whose own company represented Michael Nyman as his publisher whilst working with Paul McCartney and Jeff Wayne among others.
My co-founder Baz has had countless major syncs as a writer, with his tracks used extensively for marketing campaigns, to TV and feature film soundtracks. Publishing plays an important role in both our annual incomes.
Nevertheless, in our early days as songwriters, we both experienced the common struggle of finding sync opportunities without a traditional publishing deal. There are various ‘pay for play’ solutions, but as any songwriter who’s ever generated income from their work would tell you, those solutions are completely backward. Songwriters have always been happy to give away a percentage of their works in exchange for placements however to pay an upfront fee in addition to that is plainly ludicrous. Vampr Publishing was created to solve both these problems in the fairest way possible for the next generation of creative souls around the world.
AS: How do you hope your users will benefit from this feature? During such a difficult time for musicians, do you see this becoming an alternate revenue stream for artists currently off the road?
JS: Publishing, in general, is an increasingly important revenue stream for musicians for a whole variety of reasons. The market is projected to grow at around 7% each year through 2025. Streaming is playing an important role in that growth. So too is digital marketing, which is beginning to evolve beyond the Wild West that it once was with soundtracks for online ads now expected to be licensed properly and fees are more carefully collected around the world. All of this means it’s a good time to be a writer in an otherwise uncertain period for musicians. Vampr Publishing is meant to open up some of these opportunities to creators with well-produced original music that are as yet unrepresented.
AS: As Vampr is an app that facilitates communication between musicians and music industry folks, have you seen a spike in connections during this disconnected time?
JS: In general this quarter we’ve seen many of our metrics jump up by around 20%. Engagement specifically has gone through the roof while the number of daily new users has generally stayed stable since pre-COVID. This tells us that people are spending more time in their existing tools rather than seeking out new ones. When we start marketing Vampr Publishing to people on other platforms we’re expecting a spike in both engagement and new users. People ultimately thrive on connecting with other people and Vampr is the perfect tool for musicians in this respect.
AS: Can you speak to how your background inspired you and your cofounder to create this app?
JS: Before jumping into tech, Baz and I both enjoyed successful careers in music. My band Buchanan toured with Keith Urban and Carry Underwood, while Baz is an ARIA Hall-of-Famer and the songwriter / lead guitarist for Hunters & Collectors. We both watched on excitedly as the industry began to evolve and revolve around the internet. However, one thing was always missing! It became obvious to us that whilst certain previous challenges were being solved at scale (ie. distribution, publishing, fan servicing tools) the biggest barrier to entry and challenge of them all was being completely ignored: Getting started. Finding your tribe and building your network. Labels and the rest of the music industry gang seemingly had no real short-term incentive to address this problem either.
So we set out to create a tool we wished we had when we were starting out. Because everyone struggles to find their tribe – a team that can help take their passion for music to the next level.
Vampr is free for users and can be found in iTunes and Google Play app stores. More on Vampr at Vampr.me.