Shutterstock Introduces Music Licensing Service, Starting With 60K Tracks From Rumblefish

Shutterstock isn’t just a place where users can find stock photography and video anymore — today it’s launching Shutterstock Music.

Vice President of Product Wyatt Jenkins demonstrated the new service for me yesterday. He said that while a big media company can usually afford to license a hit song for their movie or commercial, small businesses don’t have the know-how to jump through all the legal hoops or the money to pay for the music.

So Shutterstock is bringing its model to the music licensing market. Users can search the library for a track that’s the right fit for, say, their online marketing video, then pay for a broad license, with pricing starting at $79 (actually $49 right now, thanks to a temporary promotion).

Jenkins noted that while you may be able to browse dozens or more images simultaneously, you can only listen to one music track at a time, and you probably can’t listen to all that many before you get tired out. So it was important for Shutterstock to help users find the right tracks before they even listen to anything. The library is not only searchable, it’s also browsable based on mood, genre and tempo, and each track comes with a number of descriptive tags. (Jenkins said this data is generated through a combination of algorithms and human editors.)

Jenkins acknowledged that there are other sites where you can find cheap music for your own use, but he said those songs are usually pretty basic, with music often created by “a single person with a keyboard.” With this initial launch, Shutterstock is partnering with music licensing service Rumblefish, and Jenkins argued those initial 60,000 tracks will help to set the bar high. Eventually, the service will open to other contributors, and he said there will be other quality assurance systems in place.

Apparently the new product has connections to Jenkins’ old job as an executive at music company Beatport. Jenkins said (half-jokingly, I think?) that when he joined Shutterstock in 2011, he was already interested in building a music service, but there were plenty of other projects to occupy his time. More recently, he recruited part of the Beatport team to become Shutterstock’s Denver office and build Shutterstock Music.

Jenkins added that Shutterstock’s infrastructure should allow it to expand to other types of content licensing fairly quickly: “We love looking at new content types, though we don’t have any plans at the moment. … And it’s not always about being first into a content type. It’s also about when the market needs it.”