Making the right connections

Music Gateway helps artists connect to other like-minded musicians and bands, and also acts as an A&R vehicle and resource for labels, managers and publishers who are looking for talent, to hire people for session work and licensing music. It allows creative professionals to collaborate and conduct business globally. iSing spoke to Jon Skinner, the founder and CEO, of Music Gateway.

iSing: Why did you start Music Gateway?

Jon Skinner: I started producing music myself in 1993 after setting up a record shop in 1991. I worked with lots of singer/songwriters and always found it hard to find people who liked my style of production and whose songs and quality of music I liked. I used to fly vocalists over from the states, pre-internet days, and as you can imagine this was expensive and time consuming.
This is the main reason for creating a central platform with remote working tools to enable people to share their project files online, whilst making more targeted, meaningful connections relative to their goals.

iSing: Who is it for?

JS: Since launching in August 2013, we have grown to more than 30,000 users work in all the core industry roles and countries around the world. This includes singers, songwriters, producers, composers, labels, publishers, management, music supervisors and other music services for video and design.

iSing: What kind of projects commonly occur in MG?

JS: To be honest, we have more than 40 types of projects, lots of collaborations, singer and producer hook ups and general A&R.
We get a lot of song placements for unreleased songs, which can be sourced for pop artists in the States and especially in Asia. We also have lots of sync projects which allow independent artists to directly license their recordings for TV, film, gaming and advertising. It’s important to remember that if you own the recording, even a cover version, you are the master rights owner. For sync you need to clear the publishing side, which will be based on the original writers of the song, so bear this in mind.

iSing: How can singers get the best out of MG?

Simply register and post projects, it’s free and as simply as that. Projects are how you get connected to other professionals, so for working with other musicians, bands, composers and songwriters it’s about finding the right person, rather than being restricted by your locality.
You can of course pitch for licensing, sync and A&R projects, plus there is session work.
Our opportunities and notifications are all based on your profile, so if you sit back and wait, the benefits of the platform are limited. It’s all about posting projects and being in control of with whom you work.

iSing: What are the most common misunderstandings people have about MG and how it works?

JS: I guess it would be that before they register some may think it’s another LinkedIn, but it’s kind of the opposite in the way it works. With LinkedIn, you generally browse users and click to add connections, however once connected it’s rare that people reach out or do anything together, apart from maybe sending messages about releases. It’s just not designed for music in that way.
With MG, you don’t browse users, you don’t add connections, the site does not have any social media aspects. It is all about defining a need or goal within a specific project. This could be a co-write, collaboration or a music supervisor looking to license music. Each project is tagged or targeted to specific roles, skills and or music genres. Our system will match these to the profiles of our users and issue daily project opportunities.
The members of the site can review the project, the owner’s profile and pitch if they are interested in that work or opportunity.
Owners then review the pitches and have tools to manage, communicate and accept people into their project. This is when members are given access to an online workspace area for sharing files and communicating online.
The system offers security and protection for people to transact and get paid (if applicable) through the site, with a staged handover process of files and release of funds to the worker’s online wallet account.
Monies earned can be directly withdrawn to your bank account with ease.

iSing: How can it lead to paid work for a user?

JS: Everything about MG is related to work or making creative connections, which in turn leads to further opportunities. The great thing is that the site is global and therefore making international connections are the norm. We remove the barriers and help level the playing field, simple and effective.

iSing: What does it cost to join MG?

JS: We have two account types. The first is a free limited use account, and if you secure paid work, we take a 15% commission on any fixed fee (not publishing or royalties) strictly only on the transaction from the workers side only.
We also have a pro membership account which is £9.95 per month or £95 discounted per year, which provides too many benefits to mention, but does give you a reduced commission rate to only 5%, unlimited number of pitches per month and exclusive access to the pro tier of projects.
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