Tim Smith, CEO of MyWerx
What does MyWerx do?
We want to make it easier for artists to manage their catalog at all points in their career so that they can get back to doing what they’re best at- creating. MyWerx is a tool that allows creators to manage their catalog, protect their work and connect their portfolio with the organizations that will help them run the business end of their creative endeavors. On the other side, it will also help people interested in their works to quickly and efficiently work through the process. Which means more opportunities, more royalties and less frustration.
Why was MyWerx created?
The reality is that in today’s world, when you request permission to use a copyrighted work for business purposes, gaining that permission from the owner is often difficult, slow and costly. And, more often than not, the answer is needed very quickly so the current inefficiencies and lack of a real system end up killing the opportunity. The end result is a lose-lose situation. The individual requesting use doesn’t get what they want and the owner misses a chance to generate further royalties off of their work. Add on top of that disputes and lack of claims, which exist on nearly 20% of the works in the marketplace, and you get lost revenue and uncollected royalties. MyWerx aims to simplify the system to alleviate these issues and help all individuals in the market reach their artistic and business vision.
Do you feel the word is out?
We’re still in early days of development of MyWerx, but we’re starting to get the word out to a few people (like yourself) who we feel would benefit from using MyWerx. The feedback we’re getting from artists and potential buyers is directly influencing what we’re building, how users access the system and ultimately, the scope and experience of the platform. After all, if it isn’t intuitive and useful, why bother? MyWerx is about streamlining the process, not adding layers to it.
Can you tell us a little about your role?
As CEO of MyWerx, I lead an international team that is helping to conceive, design, evangelize, finance and globalize this product. I’m the keeper of our vision, which is to improve the lives of the creative community we serve.
How have you seen MyWerx evolve?
We are in start-up mode so you might think we haven’t had time to evolve, but we have and very rapidly. What started as a concept discussed over breakfast at Noshville (a deli in Nashville) quickly became a business plan, got financed and the next thing you know, we’re putting together an international team to build a prototype and finally working with the community on design and development to launch a beta version. Along the way, we’ve met and talked with ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NMPA, SoundExchange, NSAI, RIAA, every major publisher as well as every major label and numerous independents. And now real artists and buyers are using the beta and giving us feedback in real-time. The evolution has been pretty amazing, actually.
What can we expect from MyWerx in the future?
Now we are focused on designing and developing a complete and intuitive user experience. This will enable creators, businesses and their employees and other parties interested in particular creative works to connect to information about those works in the database.
At the same time that development is moving forward, we have several strategic collaborations developing with leaders in the professional marketplace. And those collaborations came about naturally as a result of the discussions I mentioned earlier with all the industry groups. We are essentially burning the candle at both ends, by developing a solution that will appeal to amateur, the DIY market and professional alike. Ultimately, our goal is a new standard in the delivery of copyright ownership information to the industry stakeholders.
There are three services in development now: WerxConnect, WerxCalculator and e-Assignment. WerxConnect is a solution for automating the delivery of copyright ownership information of new community validated works to the businesses that need this information. For example a publisher,administrator, licensing agency, clearing house or PRO that needs information for their computer systems. WerxCalculator tracks and manages critical copyright dates such as the term of copyright and the 40 year revision of works created post-1976 after they have been assigned. The WerxCalculator will connect creators and their legal representatives and notify them of the reversion. MyWerx e-Assignment is a workflow automation system that streamlines the delivery and assignment of new works from the songwriter to their publisher. The workflow system insures data integrity by starting the assignment process after the writers have validated their splits. This will eliminate bad data from entering the software systems of the publishers and their licensing representatives as well as the royalty accounting delays that bad data can cause.
These new services coupled with functionality in our beta release give creators and their partners a complete set of tools to help manage the data associated with their catalog.
Why does an artist need MyWerx and its services?
We know that the world of copyright and intellectual property can be challenging for new artists, particularly if they are unsigned. And over the last ten years, we’ve seen drastic changes in how creative content is distributed. It’s never been easier to get your material out into the world. It’s also never been harder to keep track of all that material. At some point in your career, you’re going to enlist help in promoting your art – a publisher, PRO or a music supervisor and we are here to help creators manage those relationships as well. And it’s so much easier and more manageable if you use a system from the beginning. When you are 20 years old, 60 seems like an eternity away. But when you talk to 60 year old songwriters who’ve had success, they can attest to the chaos. Their life’s works are scattered all over the place because publishers change, divorce happens, people die and companies are sold. And if you wait until you’re 60 to try and get it in line, it’s incredibly difficult. Not to mention what you may have lost along the way. After all, as an artist, your catalog is your life’s work and your legacy. You should start treating it as such right now.
MyWerx offers a free cataloging tool to start getting organized today. If an artist or writer has any faith in themselves they will think of their works as their life’s blood, their families’ inheritance, or their gift to their community. If they think like this, then some day they will want to be able to go to one place, or have a representative go to one place, to see where their life’s work is and give it to their estate, use it as collateral for a loan, sell it to the highest bidder or give it away to a charity. These are all assignments of rights and ownership and that is what MyWerx will do better than anyone else.
What is your professional background?
I have been an entrepreneur my entire career. I spent 28 years in and around copyright administration services and designing and developing IT solutions. Some have been recognized for their innovation and some failed. I helped architect, design and implement one of the first copyright administration systems – Copyright Management, Inc – which managed hundreds of thousands of copyrighted works from ZZ Top to Rachmaninoff in all major global markets. As a Founder of Copyright.net I was invited to share the solution with the Senate Judiciary committee. I have spoken internationally on numerous issues related to Copyright and technology.
Who is eligible to join MyWerx?
Today we are focused on the creators of songs. And that includes everyone from the weekender to the seasoned professional. Signing up is simple and free. All you do is go to www.mywerx.com, register for an account and begin uploading your work.