Reflecting on 10 years of Musicbed

The other day, as I was looking at some of our year-end reporting, I was struck by a realization: Over the past 10 years, we’ve paid out more than $100,000,000 to artists. One hundred million.

I don’t know where to begin. I’d certainly like to believe my dreams were big when we started this, but I’m not sure I dreamed that we’d be able to accomplish that much for the creative community. 

When Nic, Hayley, and I started the company, we simply saw an empty space in the film industry. Creatives didn’t have access to relevant or authentic music—at least, not music they could afford—so, we started Musicbed. We didn’t have massive numbers running through our heads or any goal bigger than empowering artists to continue doing what they love without sacrificing quality due to cost. There were others offering music, but no one was offering rights-managed music at a scale that made it accessible to filmmakers.

If you talk to Nic, he’ll say I was always confident that we would hit these peaks, but, really, that’s not true. In the beginning, there was a lot of uncertainty. One of the hardest challenges we faced early on was just selling a new concept to a music industry that couldn’t see the vision. Maybe that’s a leadership lesson for a different post. Regardless, it’s crazy to find yourself in that transitional moment as a leader, when you can see things so clearly, but it seems no one else can. Then the doubts come. “Maybe this is crazy. Maybe no one will ever sign.” Slowly but surely, Nic convinced some phenomenal artists that we were in fact, NOT crazy. 

Now, looking at that massive number, I’m blown away by how far we’ve come as a company. We never imagined our reach would become this broad or that we’d be so effective in delivering on our vision. But, here we are. Over 1,000 artists on our roster. Licenses in 167 different countries. Countless placements in award-winning work, and millions donated to charity every year. What started out as a wedding and non-profit licensing company now serves some of the most highly creative agencies and brands around the globe.

And while every new service we offer—like custom scores and covers, for example—has its own set of initial challenges, we took on our most monumental challenge to date when we started offering subscriptions. When we saw that we were being compared to a lot of “competitors” that were offering less-than-quality music, we felt like we had to find a solution. We knew many filmmakers needed a subscription, but we weren’t willing to downgrade the quality of the roster. After a two-year process, we did it—and, most importantly, we did it in a healthy way for our artists. Today, after tackling our biggest transition and accomplishment of the past decade, we’re thriving. And it’s all happening at one of the most exciting points in filmmaking history—the complete democratization of video, film, music, and content. 

Every kid who got a camera for Christmas in 2021 is now plotting the launch of a YouTube channel in 2022. All of these new creators need music, and that’s what I’m most excited about. I’m excited about serving creatives and filmmakers at every milestone along their journey, from their first upload and well into their careers. That kid with the new camera could be tomorrow’s Oscar-winning director. We want to be there for filmmakers at every point.

And finally, If you’re reading this—thank you. The talent and enthusiasm of the filmmakers and musicians in this community inspire me on a daily basis. It inspires the entire team, and that’s why we start every morning with the same question: “What are we doing today to support our artists and our clients?” 

We’re thankful to be blessed with a mission where benefiting musicians and filmmakers goes hand in hand. We’re thankful for how our clients support Musicbed artists. We’re thankful for every shout-out and mention we get on projects. We’re thankful that you continue to share your stories with us, and we’re thankful the artists we represent trust us with their music. 

All of this? This is what $100,000,000 means to me. Every dollar represents an artist who gets to continue writing, recording, and performing music. Every dollar represents a filmmaker who has access to music that inspires them and inspires the people who see their work. That big, beautiful number represents a decade of teamwork, commitment, and hard work. It also makes me look forward to what’s next.

The future is bright.

Daniel McCarthy
CEO & Co-Founder