Bryson Nobles on Sade, Kanye, Coldplay, and the World of Sync Music Licensing

How rightsholder.io aims to change the game

Bryson Nobles is a co-founder, with Jarrett Hines, of Music Tech Works—a company offering simple tools to facilitate synch music licensing. Its focus is to grow the music synch market by organizing who owns the rights to what music and streamlining the process of acquiring a license.

Music Tech Works' first product is rightsholder.io, a music copyright research platform with a database of more than 60 million songs—one of the largest rightsholder databases in the world. The site gives a clear and complete searchable picture for publishing and master recording ownership information, all while combining enterprise-level features and consumer-level usability.

We spoke with Bryson for our Liner Notes series to learn more about his musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work he's proud of and admired.


Bryson, tell us...

Your earliest musical memory.

Not sure exactly when. Pretty young, though. Saturday mornings were for cleaning when I was young, and I grew up thinking that DeBarge, Anita Baker and Frankie Beverly & Maze made music to clean to.

Your first concert.

There probably was one or two before, but the earliest concert I remember was seeing Janet Jackson perform while I was in college. It was the Velvet Rope Tour. I remember big lights and sounds, acrobatics and what seemed like a hundred wardrobe changes. And then there was the kiss. Apparently there was one song she performed each night of this tour where she pulled some random person from the audience, tied them to a chair, danced around them to get them worked up, blindfolded them and then kissed them in front of the whole arena. That guy became predictably popular after that night. 

Your favorite bands/musicians.

Favorite all time: Sade. No close second. Can only describe the draw for me as lyrics + mood. There is also something about the way she has approached her career. It feels authentic. Not chasing fame, not changing with popular culture. Just making good music.

Two and three would be Kanye West and Coldplay for me. Many of the significant moments in my life seem to be tied to me listening to one or both of these artists. I love Kanye not because he is the best rap artist, but because he's a clever, creative nerd who bares it all in his music—the good and the bad. Coldplay just make great music. Though they have chased trends as of late, they just have so many timeless records that they feel like the Beatles of my generation.

How you get your music these days.

Apple Music and Pandora, unless someone shares something with me on a different platform.

Your favorite place to see a concert.

From a sky box. I like the energy of a crowd, but not so much when I am in it.

A project you worked on recently that you're proud of, and why.

I am proud of what we are accomplishing with Music Tech Works because we are solving a real problem by combining data, music and tech—three things I really love. We feel like we have a lot yet to accomplish but we have already been acknowledged and contacted by some of the biggest companies in the world.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

I am really impressed by Beatdapp and Fanflex. 

Beatdapp accurately tracks play counts on streaming services. Being a music tech nerd, I have some insight on how difficult it is to pull this off. I think the guys there are smart, focused and have an open field in front of them.

Fanflex is like HotelTonight for local bars—matching bands and bars the same way HT matches travelers and hotels. Bands can find places to play a gig for the night and generate revenue, and the bar can host that gig and share in the revenues. This was definitely one of those "Why didn't i think of that?" ideas.

How musicians should approach working with brands.

We are learning that brands kind of like the idea of breaking new artists. There seems to be some enduring value of being part of an artist's story arc. But more specifically, having your splits in order to make the licensing process go smoother and researching what a brand has used in the past, how and why, can make sure you are targeting the right brands with your music.

How brands should approach working with musicians.

Trust their creative process. They should just use rightsholder.io to research their options. :)

What music can do that nothing else can.

Represent the full range of human emotions.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.

Looking for a way to get in.

Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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