ClearBeats announces launch as derivative works clearance service from Music Rightz

As the creator economy has exploded, so has the volume of derivative works; the covers, interpolations, remixes, mashups, DJ sets, samples, and alternate versions that have long captivated fans and bedeviled rights holders. Yet through all of the technological advances, the music industry continues to struggle with the millions of derivative versions pouring into music’s ecosystems weekly. Derivatives represent a massive asset category and untapped opportunity. Still, few labels and publishers implement a proactive catalog strategy that integrates the creation, clearance, and attribution of derivative works across their internal copyright, licensing, and collections organizations.

To address this, four music business leaders have come together to form ClearBeats, a licensing practice and tech company offering new approaches to today’s bespoke derivative rights clearance. The managing directors of ClearBeats, Nick Ditri and Bob Barbiere, have teamed up with Suzanne Coffman and Yolanda Ferraloro of Music Rightz, one of the industry’s oldest and largest (sync) licensing agencies. Together, they have the experience and approaches necessary to solve the challenges and turbulence associated with derivative music and smoothen the ride for both creators and rights owners. 

Tapping into Music Rightz’s size and volume, having cleared over 220,000 songs, ClearBeats is already taking cover, remix, interpolation, sample registration, and clearance to another level– collecting and sharing new and expanded information about the creator and their work while maintaining a strong commitment to transparency. The additional information ClearBeats provides to rights holders and administrators, particularly sync teams, is critical, as the velocity of creation and distribution of derivative works continues to outpace a label or publisher’s ability to ingest, track, and promote those assets for sync and placement deals. 

While labels and artists have some options to clear and license remixes, interpolations, and samples, they have been unable to do so at scale. They are frequently unable to track down rights owners and face inherent confusion in domestic and international compliance, even for traditional covers which can be digitally distributed under a compulsory mechanical license. This has led to dramatically different approaches to managing licenses across both labels and distributors.  

“As an artist and producer, I experience it firsthand daily, and it’s a common point of frustration in the industry,” says Ditri, best known for his work as part of the DJ duo Disco Fries and for more than 25 Billboard hits he’s been involved with. “Creators want to share information about their works. However, they fear that by doing so, their music will be taken down. When I spoke to Bob about this, he noted that labels and publishers are generally more interested in monetizing, in registering, tracking, and collecting royalties, than they are in taking music down. There’s definitely a disconnect between licensees and licensors, and we decided to innovate and bring the sides together.” 

This fresh approach to expanded communication, transparency and collaboration is working. Having just launched in 2024, the company is already having an immediate impact, filling holes in identifying copyright ownership while adding new categories of information and music links to the “traditional” cover, interpolation, and remix licensing process. “ClearBeats is already my go-to for sharing my favorite unreleased projects with the world. I’m thankful for their team’s ability to clear and monetize almost any record. In the past when I’ve created a sample or cover-based record, the rights owners had no idea. Now with ClearBeats, they’ve managed to register and clear the works helping leverage my new work for broader sync and other licensing opportunities,“ shares Domenico Randazzo, of Dom Did It and il Dottore Productions, songwriter and producer for artists including Chris Brown, Jason Derulo, and John Legend.

ClearBeats is tackling several pressing industry issues in parallel. In addition to the licensing team’s work, the company is developing catalog enrichment programs for labels and publishers and assisting creator platforms, such as Music.AI, in licensing catalogs for derivative creation and distribution. 

“We're excited Music.AI has the opportunity to offer its platform to Music Rightz to expand the licensing and revenue opportunities for its licensors,” says Matt Henninger, VP of Business Development and Sales at Music.AI. “Applying cutting-edge AI technology to the licensing frameworks of both Music Rightz and ClearBeats will allow content owners more control and greater revenue opportunities.”

In the ClearBeats lab, innovative tech and registry development is underway that will further close existing communication and value gaps, bringing creators into closer alignment with rights owners and administrators. And, along with tackling derivative registration and clearance shortcomings, ClearBeats has partnered with RoyaltyAmp to assist labels and publishers in finding the derivative works already on content platforms that have errors and omissions in their metadata, ensuring accurate attribution, tracking, and payments. 

“When I was building Dubset, I was told no one would solve the clearance challenges of derivative works at scale in our lifetime,” states Barbiere. “Yet once we built the music identification and attribution technology, we were able to clear the world’s catalog–over 55 million tracks across majors and indies, for use in DJ sets. We definitely opened eyes to what could be achieved with transparency and aligned incentives across creators and rights owners. Our mission with ClearBeats is to move derivative attribution to the point of inception, we want creators to create without fear and copyright owners to know when and how their catalog is being used before it is distributed. Our work is already having an immediate and sustainable impact on the industry and we are excited about what the future brings.”