Unison interviews Robert Singerman, VP International Publishing at LyricFind

Entrepreneur managed &/or booked James Brown, Fela, Suzanne Vega, Gipsy Kings, R.E.M., Bad Brains, Sun Ra, Violent Femmes. Directed US/Can Europe, Brazil & France’s music export offices, music trade missions globally. SVP LyricFind, EVP .MUSIC, Partner; Mondo, SyncSummit, Heaven11, Venue Pilot, Songtradr, YouBloom. 19 year+ mission is giving music human translated, legal, subtitles;.YouTube subtitles due to his work, Deezer human translations of top 10,000 songs in 4 languages via LyricFind. Secured LF 2 Can export & Indigenous Language Revitalization grants & 2 major EU grants w/EU partners.

UNISON: Robert, so great speaking with one of the most well-known voices and faces pioneering and pushing for good changes in the music Industry! Our Readers will be absolutely delighted with this opportunity to hear your thoughts and vision! What would you say is the importance to the publishing stakeholders (authors, publishers, administrators) of paying attention to lyrics licensing?

ROBERT SINGERMAN: As your lyrics are worth 50% of the value/revenue of your song/catalog (in most global countries) and are probably worth significantly more than that, in terms of what fans discover, remember and keep precious from your songs, and the digital market is the main music distribution, then licensing and distributing, exhibiting lyrics digitally is one of the most important ways of connecting, marketing, developing and generating revenue. Lyric exhibition increases every single music revenue stream as ancillary income in each area (syncs, all master and song royalties, karaoke, concert attendance, merch…)  increases with each view of your lyrics, each new fan, and lyric exhibition increases number and duration of listens statistically, at least 10% on average. That means your revenue and catalog value, even master income/value, goes up. Lyric exhibition direct income grows each quarter significantly, with new verticals and music technologies showing lyrics and now human lyric translations globally. Direct lyric exhibition income doubles per stream publishing revenue (mechanicals and performances) on average when lyrics are exhibited on paid subscription platforms and multiplies publishing revenue per stream times four, (quadrupling publishing revenues) on ad-supported, “free” services. Pay attention, as if publishers are not licensing lyric exhibitions, they are not doing their jobs well, “exploiting opportunities” and benefiting songwriter income and catalog value!

UNISON: We hear you so many times, being so passionate about the power of lyrics as a frontier-breaker and democracy booster. Can you further detail on this?

ROBERT SINGERMAN: Yes, I’ve been “banging the drum” and “pounding whatever stage” I can find for 19+ years now, but lyrics and lyric translations mean a lot to me and to people worldwide. Lyrics are the #1 search term on the internet! More than politics, sex, money. My mission to give music subtitles is for breaking the language borders/frontiers, so people can understand each other’s songs in their own languages, which, yes, should encourage cultural and trade communication, mutual respect, understanding and, hopefully, even peaceful relations. Music, more than other art forms, imo, leads people to follow MLK’s quote, much more than the regrettable opposite: “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Toward Justice.” If we can’t understand each other’s songs, we are left with Squid Games, book translations, Opera and RRR, all of which have their uses in society. However, there is more to come with human lyric translations and lyric exhibition globally, for which one can always cut and paste and use AI, too, but those are nowhere near the quality, yet, of human lyric translations. Even AI alone, with YouTube’s closed-captioning, which was created out of my lobbying, (execs there told me), has completely changed the game for Spanish sung music in the US, now a billion dollar business annually. When YT started CC, subtitling songs with AI, it was about 200M$, so a 5x increase with input, of course, from labels, publishers, artistic and cross-lingual collaborations – Bieber/Fonsi – and, of course, YouTube has benefited tremendously, with billions of dollars earned, proving the concept. Spanish sung music is also up significantly globally as well. PLEASE check Deezer now, with human lyric translations (from LyricFind) in 4 languages; Spanish, Portuguese, French and German, of the top global (mostly anglophone) songs and see the lyrics and excellent translations, which also adds to the already proven concept, outperforming expectations.

UNISON: What’s the role of LyricFind (with whom we have an agreement!) on the lyric licensing global landscape?

ROBERT SINGERMAN: LyricFind is the first company who legalized and monetized the online lyric market and a leader in the field. LF has well over 100 platforms exhibiting lyrics from over 70,000+ music catalogs licensed for distribution and monetization of lyrics and lyric translations. These include Deezer, Google Search, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Resso, Pandora, Mercedes Benz (and other car companies coming this year) and over 100 other platforms, most as the sole lyrics and rights provider. They also include hospitals and senior living centers showing lyrics along with music for healing, language learning apps, music synchronization and playlisting apps, internet of things, showing lyrics and many new technologies. All with royalties paid to publishers and songwriters with each view. LyricFind also creates lyric videos and lyric translation videos https://www.lyricfind.com/products/lyric-videos for master owners and music distributors, or publishers in a “free to create/scalable” model, for from 1-10,000 lyric videos made at a time, for back-catalog video distribution and monetization and has other products, like LyricIQ, (lyrics themes and subject matter analysis at scale), for music publishers benefit. All publishers need to do is license (through Unison, for example) and deliver us their lyrics in a very simple format and we’ll distribute and monetize them globally, collect from all our platform partners and account and pay Unison, who will pay each publisher per their agreements.

UNISON: We are also partnering with you on a long-wished project: BELEM! Can you detail more on it for our readers and the importance of this project?

ROBERT SINGERMAN: BELEM is a 4 year “Large Scale Cooperative” Project of the EU for capacity building for EU music publishers and songwriters, with webinars created by Unison, open calls, (significant funding available) for co-creation and co-production of translated EU songs https://belem.music/open-calls/ and many other aspects, including live, in-concert physical and virtual lyric translation and other goals. BELEM was created with 14 EU partners and LyricFind, a Canadian company, to Boost European Lyric Entrepreneurialism and Monetization (BELEM) to educate publishers on the value of lyric exhibition and license lyrics for distribution and then, potentially more importantly, to help give music subtitles, (legal lyric translations for meaning) and break/cross the language barrier in the EU, creating opportunities especially for non-Anglophone singing and writing artists globally. Even Anglophone songs will benefit significantly, once lyrics have subtitles exhibited globally. Music is not a zero sum game and there is no globalization without localization, especially with content. The EU companies/orgs/partners involved are Unison, Deezer, Zebralution, Independent Digital, Metatron, Nord University, AMAIE, RUNDA, Mars Music, Bardis Music, Broma16, 1PlusIV, Lusitanian Music Publishing and the new top level domain; .MUSIC. BELEM was created for European music publishers to greatly expand their local, regional and global relevance by distributing their lyrics and lyric translations for meaning. It’s really aimed for all the people in the world who care about music and want to know the lyrics and meaning of songs which can change the world for the better, if we all understand each other’s messages, intentions and context. Please contact us for more information, or to deliver lyrics for your songwriters and their potential fans globally.

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