CAMPAIGN-I: BEHIND THE HYPE - Musical matchmaking on the internet. Ricall acts as matchmaker between record labels and companies needing music.

Ricall is an online music licensing network that was established

way back in 1998. The system is a business-to-business service that

helps commercial users of music, such as production companies and

advertising agencies, source music for their films and ads. Ricall

functions as a matchmaker between music seekers and the record companies

and helps record companies to speed up the music licensing process.



The Ricall system is effectively an intranet, and has attracted more

than 500 registered users so far, including some of the major

advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, Publicis and M&C

Saatchi. TV broadcasters - for example the BBC, BSkyB and Channel 4 -

have also signed up for the service, as well as a number of production

houses.



Most of the artists whose music is available via the system are hit

recording artists - Universal, BMG, EMI, Zomba and Sanctuary are some of

the record companies on Ricall's books. The company has been granted a

blanket licence by Phonographic Performance Limited and the Mechanical

Copyright Protection Society. That might not mean much to you and me,

but that's a big deal in the record industry and saves precious time for

those trying to licence individual tracks .



Ricall makes its money by taking a cut of the fee paid for each track

licensed through the system - a performance-based model.



It also has a function that helps users to track music they can't place

- for example, they aren't sure of the artist or the nameof the

song.



The site allows users looking for music to search for tracks that sound

very similar to certain artists.



Target Audience The service is targeting commercial users of music.



Funding The start-up was backed by private investors at its inception

three years ago.



Principals Ricall was founded by its managing director, Richard

Corbett.



Marketing Other than pitching to potential users of the site, Ricall is

relying on word of mouth among its clients to bring in business.



Competitors Songseekers has been around for more than 20 years and, to

be fair, is bigger, badder and uglier than Ricall. It claims to work

much more closely with the creative process than Ricall and, of course,

has been around significantly longer. It will be interesting to see if

Ricall can compete seriously.



Unlike Songseekers, Ricall cannot licence online on behalf of record

companies - it is merely a go-between. Users browsing the site can play

30-second samples of tracks thanks to the site's deal with the PPL and

MCPS.



The majority of the other websites in this area specialise in

undiscovered talent - companies such as Peoplesound provide a similar

service, but are experts in providing commercial music users with music

that sounds similar to that of famous artists rather than music by the

artist themselves.



THE YEAR AHEAD



Partnering with big players in the music industry will supply Ricall

with the business network and ammunition that it needs. Songseekers

poses some serious competition, however. - We're not convinced.