music reporter

Indie filmmakers can score Moby freebies

Moby has been busy lately. The veteran dance music artist has a new publishing deal with Kobalt Music Group and a new album due out in the spring. He also recently launched an innovative Web site that gives his music away — to the right people, of course.

Moby is licensing his music for free via MobyGratis.com to help out indie and student filmmakers.

"I was a philosophy major, and I had a minor in film," he says. "Ever since then, I've had a lot of friends in the world of independent and nonprofit film production. Their recurring complaint is that it's really difficult to license music for movies that have no budgets, so I thought I would start this Web site, which very simply provides free music to nonprofit indie films."

The site offers 70 unreleased pieces of music. Moby says the music is "specifically designed" to be in films and would not be of interest to the general consumer. It also has been another creative outlet for him.

"I'm having fun and writing specific incidental pieces of music," he says. "I also have tons of music that I've made over the years that is more atmospheric or instrumental that would never find its way onto a record. So, selfishly, it's a way for me to find a home for music that otherwise would never get listened to."

Moby's double-platinum 1999 release "Play" is known as one of the most-licensed albums ever. In hindsight, he admits to overlicensing.

"I probably should have been a little smarter in restricting some of the licenses," he says. "A lot of the people who criticized me for over-licensing 'Play' are now working in the licensing divisions of record companies. I think, if anything, I was a victim of doing too much too soon. Now everybody in the music business is desperate to license music.

"As record sales dwindle, the record labels will license anything and everything," he adds. "You have to make the right choices."

But there's plenty of Moby music that he won't be giving up for free. His new exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Kobalt includes all territories except France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The deal includes administration of his album "Last Night" (Mute/EMI), due March 24, as well as global representation for film, TV, advertising, games and other media licensing.
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