Songfreedom Offers Rescue Plan for Affected Music Dealers Artists

On Friday, Chicago-based synch placement firm Music Dealers abruptly closed its doors, leaving an unknown number of songwriters and artists holding the bag.  Immediately, reports of unpaid invoices and cancelled projects emerged, though it’s difficult to tell how many were affected.

The shutdown was rumored to be caused by a failure to renew mega-client Coca-Cola, leaving other deals frozen in various stages, with artists unable to collect in some situations.  “After countless emails and failed promises, Music Dealers failed to pay out $2,600 to one of my artists,” producer and manager Tyler Neil Johnson explained.  “I went to email again…they bounced back… did a quick Google search to find out they went bankrupt and their Facebook and Twitter had been deleted.”

“Its [sic] just sad because a lot of artists like my client were never given any warning about this and will probably never see that money.”

Now, there’s help coming from St. Louis-based Songfreedom, a company also specialized in synch placements.  The company, headed by Matt Thompson, has now constructed a rescue package for affected songwriters, artists, and other partners finding themselves with unpaid invoices and revenue shortfalls.

The plan, shared with Digital Music News Friday evening, would involve the following aspects:

(a) Artists left unpaid by Music Dealers can apply for an advance payment on future royalties from Songfreedom, based on previous earnings though synch placements.  This advance is not interest-bearing, and will carry a recoupment plan agreeable to both sides.

(b) Songfreedom will also seek to intervene and rescue abandoned Music Dealer deals and contracts in an attempt to secure payments for artists.  Songfreedom will not collect a fee for this work.  The larger the group of affected Music Dealers artists, the better the resolution and collection efforts will be.

(c) With enough artists, Songfreedom will help to initiate class action litigation or collective bankruptcy action to collect previous debts owed by Music Dealers.

Songfreedom told Digital Music News that they offer a payout of 70% back to all of its artists on synch placements, which solidly trumps anything Music Dealers offered.  That rate would apply to all future deals involving former Music Dealers artists as well.

If you are an affected Music Dealers artist, please contact Songfreedom at to discuss the program and and a plan for getting things back on track.

The following is a statement from Songfreedom CEO Matt Thompson concerning this program:

“We were of course all shocked to read about the shut down of Music Dealers. I suppose you never know what’s happening behind the curtain. It’s obviously a shame for all of the job losses but we’ve been thinking more about all of the artists whose music was licensed that may never be paid. Worse yet, those artists likely relied on placements through MD as a real revenue stream used to help create more music, support a tour, or just pay some bills. Hopefully something can be devised to give those artists what they deserve.

In the meantime, we would be happy to help any artists looking for a new home. Our platform is much more automated than what they were probably used to with MD, which means we can afford to payout 70% to artists while still being a solvent company. The longterm viability of a company is something that many don’t consider, but it obviously matters. If you or your team have any outreach from artists we would love to hear from them and see how we can help. They can email us at and Stacy, Stephanie, or someone from the team will get back to them. We already get a lot of artist submissions so please let them know it might take a minute to respond.

As you know, apart from serving many underserved professional markets like schools, churches, and event videographers, we also work with a lot of editing houses and ad agencies on corporate and other productions. Basically, there are plenty of opportunities for artists to earn royalties from our clients buying licenses around the clock in over 150 countries. Yes, we work with major label artists but we also work with a ton of indies and they do quite well. Just some additional info I thought you could pass along to any that ask!  Please feel free to reach out if you can think of any other ways we can help these folks.

Matt Thompson – CEO


Featured image by VirtualWolf, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

10 Responses

  1. Shlomo

    Music Dealers contracts are non-exclusive so they don’t OWN anything despite previous hints they do. Artists are free to take their catalog wherever they want so nobody is locked in to some contract. The only concern would be for songs that were licenesed but not paid out. I can’t imagine there are 100’s of artists who haven’t been paid. Probably less than 50 if that. Just a hunch.

    The most alarming part is why Coca Cola would back out when it appeared they had a great working relationship with MD and made great strategic sense for them. MD employed over 50 to my knowledge. This Songfreedom company probably has less than 10. MD was making way more money from quality placements than micro synching you music in some cats youtube channel.

    Not mad at the Songfreedom’s art of war tactic. Seems like theyve had a grudge against a far superior company for a while. Now’s their opportunity to get some press by making this a bigger issue than it is.

    Sue sue sue! LOL

    • Artists first

      Interesting outlook. What about the retitling of songs by MD, which is widely viewed as a predatory practice?

      By “far superior” do you mean “unprofitable”? It’s hard to imagine anything about MD being superior to anyone.

    • asdf

      Obviously MD wasn’t “far superior”. They were entirely too dependant on funds from too-few investors (Coca-Cola etc.), had way too high overhead and mismanagement (too many employees, huge offices with bars and concert spaces, parties etc.), and not a strong or compelling enough business strategy (pushing generic music by small no-name artists for small fees – hoping for volume business perhaps?).

      Depending on their payout schedule and the size of their catalogue, It’s likely that hundreds of artists are owed money (likely not very much money, though). Still, super shady for these guys to shutter without warning and leave their artists in the dust.

      • Vail, CO

        It’ll be really interesting to see the blowback on coca cola. Rumors that their backing out caused the shutdown

    • Me

      MD made tons of money tricking writers into blanket licensing deals disguised as ‘promotional’ with several breach of contracts.That beside poor costumer service, employees with basically zero knowledge of what they were doing and supervisor that knew even less.

  2. Anon

    I was one of the artists that Music Dealers didn’t pay, but more sinister than that, was that they sold my song weeks ago, and didn’t even let me know, so its not even like they failed to come up with the cash, but they failed to notify me that they did a deal in the first place, I suspect they knew they were headed for liquidation a few weeks ago, and were trying to make a few bucks before they did, hopefully I will see my money back

    • JMS

      They did the same to me 5 years ago – place my song, didn’t tell me and never paid me. I only discovered it a couple of months ago. So they’ve clearly been doing this for a very long time 🙁

  3. tatavapas

    i get paid over $89 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced mee to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,…… ………. CareerPlus80.Tk

  4. Marcus

    This company Songfreedom, don’t send Statements, do nothing pay out of licenses and have no signed agreement. Take care and don’t license anything from them. We will take a lawyer and write all clients, what use without rights our songs. We take 5000€ per illegal License!