By Nathaniel Hobbs, Editor-In-Chief
How much would you pay for a custom song, handwritten for any special occasion, and capable of being used commercially?
As it turns out, the cost is low. Songlorious, a product of the pandemic, was founded by Omayya and Ellen Attout. Both had day jobs and a side hustle performing live music prior to the pandemic, but all of that was swept away when Omayya’s pay was reduced, Ellen’s job closed its doors, and music venues shut down. While trying to support themselves, the Attouts developed a fascinating idea – launching a website that offered custom songs to visitors for a fair price.
The general concept is straightforward. Custom song prices start at $45 for a 30-second acoustic jingle but can cost as much as $230 for a full three-minute song. According to the Attouts, the average order costs close to $179. There are also several available add-ons, such as more complex instrumentation, choice of specific artist, a faster turnaround time, or a commercial licensing fee. When placing an order, customers specify what the occasion is for and if there is a story behind the request. They can also choose from several moods or genres and identify a handful of lyrical elements for writers to include. There is a slight fee for revisions based on preference issues, but any changes are free if Songlorious makes a mistake.
To ensure songs are of a high quality, all artists and writers who join the website must audition by completing a hypothetical order, after which they undergo a training session to make sure each creation is “a five-star song.”
After launching in June 2020, the website quickly picked up support from artists looking to earn a living after being sidelined by the pandemic. The company continued to pick up momentum, earning a feature on Shark Tank that aired Oct. 15, 2021, and earning the Attouts investments from four of the five sharks. Songlorious projects revenues of $2.5 million for 2021 and $5 million in 2022. The company has already paid out more than $650,000 to 160 artists, each of whom was paid 35-50 percent of revenue generated from the songs they write and record.
Songlorious is not the only company tapping into the market for personalized songs. Another platform, Songfinch, was launched in 2016 and is backed by veteran music industry executives. Songfinch hosts more than 650 artists who have collectively created more than 25,000 original songs, and who have been paid more than $2.1 million in 2021. Similarly, Cameo has indicated it may move into the realm of personalized songs. The platform is already utilized by many well-known artists and pulled in more than $100 million in revenue last year, with a shocking 75 percent paid to the talent.
One major concern for the custom-song market is that live performances are beginning to take place in the United States in larger and larger numbers. Many major music festivals this year hosted hundreds of thousands of attendees. Supplemental income on which artists on Songlorious or Songfinch relied during the worst of the pandemic may no longer be necessary. However, the roster of artists on Songlorious seems to have remained highly engaged and willing to continue the work in addition to performing live. We can only wait and see if this market will last or if it will start to dry up as the world gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Songlorious, https://www.songlorious.com/ (last visited Nov. 21, 2021).
Chris Eggertsen, Cameo for Songs? This “Shark Tank” Startup Wants to Dominate the Personalized-Music Market, Billboard, https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/9654525/shark-tank-winner-songlorious-personalized-songs/ (Nov. 3, 2021).