We’re often asked how Audio Network started. The idea was always very different from the traditional music library approach and starting a catalogue of new music from scratch requires a great deal of work, trust, dedication and belief. We have always been incredibly lucky to have a hugely loyal and talented group of people around us who have committed themselves to the idea and been passionate about building the best and most diverse catalogue of production music in the world.
The story began in the summer of '99 when our founders, Robert Hurst and Andrew Sunnucks came up with the concept for a music company that made it easy and simple to license high quality Music for Films & TV. Up until then, the complexity of pre-existing agreements and contracts with composers and agents around the world had meant that clearing music had long been one of the most difficult parts of the production process for TV and Film producers.
A key part of the new business model was to produce an entirely new catalogue of music created with content makers in mind. The last decade has seen a fundamental shift in the way content is created and distributed. This means that the rights in music used have to be held centrally, allowing it to be licensed without the traditional restrictions.
This new, customer focused, approach delivered a straightforward subscription model fit for the current media landscape. Removing barriers to people using the music would give producers and editors the creative freedom to use as much music as they want and the extra usage would lead to better broadcast ‘public performance’ royalties for us and our composers.
This new approach and model would take time to get off the ground and the first challenge was getting the composers on board to create the music. The plan was to create the best quality production music library ever recorded and this meant getting the top writers, producers and players involved. There was a desire for this to be a creative company, owned by creative people so a dream list of composers was drawn up and they were invited to join us as shareholders.
The first to embrace the idea were jazz legends Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, rapidly joined by other composer luminaries including Dame Evelyn Glennie, Tim Garland, Terry Devine-King, Chris Blackwell and Paul Mottram. Every single composer on the initial hit list joined in and their commitment and enthusiasm encouraged the all-important financiers to invest. The idea became a reality in July 2001 & Audio Network was born.
Over the years Audio Network’s business and composer base has grown significantly as our model has become popular with composers and music users. Easy, straightforward access to the music has grown the market which benefits everybody. Audio Network is now a global publisher with offices and sub publisher arrangements around the world.
We have over 70 staff, 600 composers and around 40 submissions from composers wanting to join us every day. Every month we record with major artists and orchestras all over the world and we release around 12,000 new tracks a year.
In July 2013 Stripes Group, a US based Private Equity company, took a significant minority stake in the company to help us develop technologies and new ways of distributing the music to global markets. We continue to strive to find ways of creating world-class music and making it ever easier for users to find it and use it.
Although the company is in some ways unrecognizable, we are also exactly the same and the core of what we believe in hasn't changed:
Quality - The belief in recording the music ourselves with the best composers, musicians and facilities possible
Ease of use - Make things easy for customers with expert and excellent customer service
Creativity - Continuing to innovate and build long term, close relationships with the creative communities we work with
Now it’s time to make sure the business continues to adapt as the media industry changes. There are some exciting new plans and ideas in the pipeline, so watch this space and we hope you see them emerge in the coming months and years.