APM Sports Exec Explains Why Pro Sports Teams Require Custom Tracks

JohnWallStreet

If you’ve ever watched Monday Night Football, you’re familiar with this song. Interestingly, ABC/ESPN does not own the ballad entitled “Heavy Action”; it’s a pre-composed British library track that was pulled off a shelf at ABC 30 years ago. That track is among 620,000 others in the APM Music Catalog. JohnWallStreet had a chance to connect with Matt Gutknecht, Sr. Account Director, Sports Entertainment at APM Sports to explore the intersection of sports and the music business.

JWS: Why would a pro sports franchise choose to work with APM Sports as opposed to just playing “Top 20” hits?

Matt: Teams come to use for 2 reasons. You may have seen on national signing day a bunch of Top 25 college football programs had their Twitter accounts shut down for copyright infringement (use of popular music). So, we can provide a solution to mitigate and reduce liability.

The second reason is cost. One NBA team paid $200,000 for the in-arena and social media use of a single pop song (in their scoreboard intro video), for 41 home games. We can provide a track similar in vein, something unique that no one else, without having to pay in the low-to-mid six figures.

JWS: Is there a financial penalty for this type of copyright infringement?

Matt: No, I’ve actually had P5 conference teams tell me they’d rather pay a fine than have the content (or their account) taken down.

JWS: A team wants to use The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army but isn’t willing to pay the publisher’s asking price. What kind of solution can you offer them?

Matt: So, we’d look to create a great track, with big quarter note, bass drum feel. That coral, chanting kind of thing. We’re not in the business of knocking off tracks or doing something that is 2-3 notes away. (check out a sample playlist in the style of The White Stripes)

Howie Long-Short: APM Music is owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing (a subsidiary of SNE) and Universal Group Music Publishing (a subsidiary of the French mass media conglomerate Vivendi, EPA: VIV).

Fan Marino: Speaking of Imagine Dragons, “the new White Stripes for in-arena music”, if you’re a college football fan, you’ll be hearing a lot of them this fall. Their hit “Natural” has been selected by ESPN/ABC as their 2018 college football anthem. You may recall, the ’17 anthem was “Walk on Water” by 30 Seconds to Mars.

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