NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Launching publicly today, SPOKEN GIANTS is the first royalty administration company for creators of spoken word copyrights (comedians, podcasters, authors of speeches/lectures, etc.). Founded by former BMI executive Jim King and 800 Pound Gorilla Records co-founders Ryan Bitzer and Damion Greiman, Spoken Giants represents hundreds of members, including Lewis Black,Dan Cummins, Gerry Dee, Pete Holmes, Kyle Kinane, Kathleen Madigan, the Ralphie May Estate, LeanneMorgan, and Theo Von, among others, and are scaling up dramatically.
Millions in royalties have been unclaimed by, or simply not paid to, spoken word creators. While rights organizations have long existed in the music industry, no such entity has existed to protect and pay spoken word creators, until now. Spoken Giants' credible, transparent, and accurate royalty management follows music precedents to correct the global financial oversights of the past, becoming the de facto collective for spoken word's future in the process.
Spoken Giants represents underlying composition copyrights and their revenue is based on a percentage of monies collected. For members, this is an additive income stream, supplemental to revenue already earned from SoundExchange for sound recordings. Members retain all rights to their work and gain access to data, analytics, deep market knowledge, copyrights administration and repertoire management across all affiliates, and carefully optimized royalty administration processing.
Spoken Giants CEO and co-founder Jim King explains, "Although US copyright law protects spoken word assets,it's an area where even having a marquee name doesn't guarantee you'll be paid what you're owed. We're changing that with transparent, collective representation for all in order to strengthen the marketplace in favor of the creator. While copyright law is clear, a dedicated team and detailed technology are needed to pursue underlying composition royalties, so, our message is, 'membership is a must,' especially with the overwhelming rise of podcasting and streaming over the past decade."
For tracking, royalty collection and reporting, Spoken Giants has partnered with Muserk, an AI technology-driven administration platform. With its proprietary M-MATCH and M-PAC technology, Muserk has significantly impacted royalty collection in the video and music spaces and currently manages millions of works on all the major tech platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.). Their proven technology has found millions in uncollected royalties for copyright holders around the world, delivering a 25% increase in royalties on average for its clients.
Muserk CEO and newly appointed Spoken Giants board member Paul Goldman noted, "In recent years, spoken word content has become increasingly valuable to the tech platforms that monetize this type of content. And just like music, if there isn't a rights organization like Spoken Giants, you can bet the content owners will not be paid their fair share, if anything at all. Partnering with Spoken Giants is a perfect fit for Muserk. As new and emerging types of content rise to the top of the ecosystem, Muserk's mission is to be one step ahead of the tech platforms in order to administer the content owner's rights and collect their royalties with accuracy and transparency. Spoken Giants is filling a massive void in an exploding market and it's exciting to partner with them, paving new paths."
Spoken Giants' payments are facilitated by Exactuals, a wholly owned subsidiary of City National Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada, which will provide secure royalty disbursements through their PaymentHUB service, which allows affiliates to manage how they receive royalties. The portal also retains statements for future reference.
The need for collective representation was identified in 2016, when former comedy managers, Ryan Bitzer and Damion Greiman opened Nashville-based comedy label 800 Pound Gorilla Records. The label founders quickly recognized that comics were not getting all they were owed for their work. Bitzer and Greiman partnered with former BMI executive Jim King in 2018, and Spoken Giants began its work to strengthen the community and build the marketplace for all spoken word creators.
How spoken word copyright holders earn income through Spoken Giants:
PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES: When a performance (e.g., a comedy track) is played/aired/streamed publicly. Streaming platforms are considered public platforms; therefore, when a performance written by the performer is streamed, a royalty is owed to the author. While blanket licenses from music PROs exist for music performance, BMI and ASCAP's blanket licenses do not collect on behalf of spoken word creators.
MECHANICALS – When a mechanical reproduction is made (i.e. a comedy album is pressed into a vinyl or compact disc or converted to a download or stream). With the consumption of each, a royalty is owed to the author. Prior to Spoken Giants, no entity pursued these royalties for spoken word. *The Music Modernization Act (2018) did not address spoken word content when it updated copyright law to address music streaming. Spoken Giants is now the single, credible, transparent, and scalable collective organization for these rights.
SYNCHRONIZATION – When a recorded work (a speech, a song, a comedy bit) is synchronized with other media such as video and film. For example, if copywritten spoken word content – such as a famous speech – is used in a film, the film production would obtain a license from Spoken Giants.
James "Jim" King is CEO and Co-Founder of Spoken Giants, the first global rights administration collective for spoken word creators (comedians, podcasters, and oration). He also provides leadership services as CTO for Outsell, Inc., CTO for VNUE, Inc., and has previously consulted for Roche, Bayer, Spotify, SOCAN, and others.
Formerly, King was Senior Vice President, CIO/CTO, and Head of Business Operations and Technology at Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and served on the boards of the Open Music Initiative, DDEX, and other music industry leadership groups.
Prior to BMI, Jim was the Senior Vice President, Audience Platforms, and Global Chief Information Officer for United Business Media, PR Newswire (now Cision). He has held CIO, CTO, and COO positions with leading global information services, media and publishing companies, including The McGraw-Hill Companies (S&P Global), Brightpoint Mobile (Ingram), Reed Elsevier PLC, and LexisNexis. He has held leadership roles with Microsoft and NCR/AT&T Bell Labs.
King holds graduate degrees, including a Masters in Computer Science and a Masters in Remote Sensing/Geography. His graduate school experience includes Purdue University (LARS Labs), and Ball State University. In 2014 was named CIO/CTO of the Year in Nashville.
Ryan Bitzer is the co-founder of the world's largest comedy label 800 Pound Gorilla Records and co-founder of Spoken Giants. Over the course of his career, he has worked within the entertainment industry at companies like rpm management, Eventful and Sparkart and alongside the careers of Tim McGraw, Bon Jovi, and Darius Rucker. Ryan is a Nashville native who attended Belmont University.
Damion Greiman is a co-founder of both Spoken Giants as well as 800 Pound Gorilla Media, which includes a comedy record label, film and television production company, and podcast network. Prior to starting 800 Pound Gorilla, Damion managed comedians and worked as a concert promoter for Outback Concerts of Tennessee. Damion earned a bachelor's degree in Management from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL and resides in in Franklin, TN with his wife Renee and their six dogs.