Bruce Springsteen sold the rights to his catalog for over 500 million dollars last year. In the late 2020s, Bob Dylan struck a similar deal. The catalog was sold for $250 million. At least $250 million was secured in a deal for titles from nearly 30 albums.

The explosion of music streaming and tunes on TikTok as well as an ever-growing need to supply global video services with soundtracks to their shows and movies are some of the reasons why this music rights gold rush is happening. Duetti is a stealth startup co-founded by two former streaming execs. Instead of giving big-name artists a lot of money, the company is looking to cut deals with small artists.

Christopher Nolte spent two years buying content for Apple Music after doing the same at Tidal. The duo quietly approached artists about buying the rights to their songs in recent weeks, after launching Duetti in stealth this summer.

It isdemocratizing access to catalog monetization.

Duetti will purchase the rights to songs that are performing well on streaming services. Over time, the company buys rights to additional songs from artists it partners with and further milks those songs with the help of playlists, influencer partnerships, and other forms of Optimization.

The company isdemocratizing access to catalog monetization opportunities in order to financially enable all artists to further pursue their professional or personal ambitions. Requests for comment were not responded to.

The plans to open the long tail of music rights are indicative of a larger change in the music business. Not too long ago, bands and their labels were solely focused on their new releases. Those old tunes have the potential to make money.

Duetti raised $7 million and is promising artists “serious cash”

Since the launch of the company this summer, Duetti has been operating under the radar, with a bare-bones website promising musicians to get fairly paid for their back catalog. The duo's LinkedIn pages only identify them as co-founders of a stealth startup, without links to the company's equally minimalist website.

Public records show that the company was first registered in Delaware in May. Nolte is listed as secretary in a filing with the Secretary of State. Duet Intellectual Property Inc., a related entity, was registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Hollywood-based Presight Capital is one of the funders of Duetti's seed funding round.

A bright and simple website explaining that artists can sell a percentage of rights to their track, be supported by Duetti’s marketing, and get paid.
Duetti’s staging website explains what the startup offers to artists.

The startup has been more forthcoming with its partners and employees. According to the documents reviewed for this article, Duetti aims to provide independent artists with new and empowering financial solutions. The company is building a world-class team that will create new ways to source, price, acquire, aggregate and monetize music.

Duetti exists to give artists serious cash for their catalogs, according to a public staging website.

The key to monetizing catalogs is data

The artist have begun to be courted. It is offering to either purchase the rights to select songs or pay a percentage of ownership. The company was interested in one of the songs from the back catalog, which has been doing well on streaming services, according to one of the artists. The company may be interested in buying rights to additional titles down the line if the song alone is worth a five-figure amount.

Duetti appears to be using third-party tools to identify songs that rack up millions of plays on streaming services as potential acquisition targets, but the company has plans to gather this type of data in-house. Nolte said that their data team is core to everything they do.

The startup has the ability to boost performance with placement of music.

Data can be used to find songs to acquire and monetize them. In a job listing that hasn't been widely disseminated, the company has been looking for an Optimization lead who would be tasked with the execution of new cutting-edge strategies to improve the performance of Duetti's song catalog on music streaming platforms.

The listing says that getting those songs more plays could include organic and paid media campaigns.

Duetti plans to make some of its data tools public and give artists a sense of how much their catalog may be worth before they sign a deal. The company is looking for a designer who will use the tools to give artists detailed information about the value of their work. Duetti wants to become the defacto industry standard by providing high value information.

Kate Bush and 420doggface show that anything is possible

Some artists make a lot of money from the back catalog. More than $12 billion was spent on catalog acquisitions in one year. The Bob Dylan deal only covers the rights to the composition of a song. The rights to the actual sound recording are included in other acquisitions.

The changing nature of the music business is one of the reasons for the gold rush. The industry's reliance on album sales came with its own limitations. You only made money from the first sale. Artists don't gain anything when fans play an album they bought on CD.

Old catalog titles can bring in a lot of money over time with streaming services. The revenue profile of a song can be extended on streaming services.

Music fans are not the only ones who rediscover old songs. Video streaming services need an ever growing catalog of music for their movies and shows as they invest billions in original content. It can translate to direct income for the rights holders.

Old songs are blowing up again thanks to the help ofNetflix and TikTok.

The song "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush was used in the most recent season of the show. According to a study by the two companies, if an artist's song is used on a show, it will double the amount of streams for the rest of the catalog.

There are other ways for catalog titles to get new audiences. All it takes is a guy on a longboard chugging cranberry juice.

The song "Dreams" reappeared in the charts 43 years after it was first released, after a video featuring a song by TikToker went viral. "Dreams" went on to top the Apple Music charts after MickFleetwood responded with his own video. Anything that TikTok has taught us, it is.

Up until now, most catalog sellers have been white, male, and famous

Many of the buyers of music rights tend to focus on big artists like Dylan, and not much else. The majority of the big deals thus far have been old, white, male, and US- / UK-centered.

Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on albums that were big hits when they first came out may not be the best way to monetize music for the TikTok generation. Not only can streaming data be a better indicator for future success than yesterday's radio charts, but also social media and the like have been shifting music listening to the long tail. Some industry watchers think that TikTok killed the pop star because the number of new artists topping the charts has declined.

The music industry is evolving quickly. She argued that the shift to long-tail listening could also be used to make money from smaller artists. Companies can focus more on niches.