Music industry veteran Brooke Wentz is on a mission to make world music more accessible.
To do this, Wentz has spent the last four years working on Seven Seas Music, a San Francisco based company that is officially launching this month. Seven Seas is run by CEO Brooke Wentz and music licensing expert Maryam Soleiman.
Seven Seas is a platform that curates authentic music from around the globe. Customers can use Seven Seas to browse, listen to, and license world music.
The company’s target audience is creative professionals who need to license music for their projects. Turnaround time for licensing is between 24 and 48 hours.
Seven Seas currently lists about 3,500 handpicked tracks that were curated over a period of two years. This number is constantly growing.
The term “world music” has a certain connotation. It brings to mind compilation CDs that you can buy from a listening station at Target. Wentz knows all about world music compilations, she spent years working on them. She was the producer of Global Meditation, which was named the Best Selling International Album of the Decade. She also founded music licensing firm The Rights Workshop, led ESPN’s music department, and was A&R Manager at Arista.
I spoke to Brooke Wentz about Seven Seas by phone. She told me that world music is so much more than what you hear on a stereotypical compilation CD (she seems to prefer the term “international music”). Rolling “world music” into a single genre shows an inherent western bias against regions of the world we’re unfamiliar with.
Seven Seas makes a point to curate fun, hip, and relevant tracks alongside traditional music.
With extreme enthusiasm Wentz told me that Seven Seas features all kinds of cool and contemporary music from every genre, including remixes and instrumentals. One of Seven Seas’ featured artists, The Wagi Brothers, make beats by hitting their shoes against plastic containers.
Wentz uses her years of experience and her connections from around the world to locate music for Seven Seas’ collection. Seven Seas also has partnerships with labels like TOUCH Music and Luaka Bop.
The Seven Seas website makes it pretty easy to find the type of music you’re looking for. The interactive world map visualizes available tracks by region, but there’s a also a traditional search that categorizes tracks by country, style, vocal type, mood, language, and instrument.
Wentz is not only concerned with helping customers license music, she wants to bring visibility and compensation to artists who might be looked over otherwise. She negotiates licensing rates, making sure they are affordable to creators while providing enough compensation to the artists.
For example, Wentz says that a rate of $500 can be a pretty big deal for artists in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I spoke to two different Seven Seas clients about their experience. Filmmaker Hooman Khalili used the service to place music in his film Olive and music supervisor Dan Wilcox used the service to place music in The Coup. They both said Brooke Wentz was very involved in their music-finding process.
Both Khalili and Wilcox gave glowing reviews of Seven Seas and Wentz’s knowledge of global music. They said she simplified and sped up the process of locating music. Khalili described Wentz as a superstar at the top level of her industry. Wilcox said he would definitely use Seven Seas the next time he needs international music.
So what’s next for Seven Seas, once their launch is completed?
The company is looking to grow their catalogue. Wentz said she’s working on building up their catalogue of Korean, Cuban, and Greek music. She says she’s also thinking about making stems available on the platform in the future, which could make the service particularly useful for music producers.
Brooke Wentz says they’ll also be seeking another round of funding after Thanksgiving. The company raised $60,000 in 2014 from The Pipeline Fellowship, an angel-investing bootcamp for female owned businesses.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u