How 3 Independent Music Artists Are Making Money Through Viral Video

By Megan O'Neill 

With all the talk about SOPA, online video creators are taking more precautions than ever in order to avoid breaking copyright laws, using royalty free music sites and licensing music from services like the new Vimeo Music Store, which launched back in September.  As more and more creators look for music that they can legally use in their videos, independent musicians are taking full advantage.  I found out about three independent artists that have used the Vimeo Music Store to get discovered, and even make some money to boot.

With services like the Vimeo Music Store, musicians have a new channel through which to gain recognition.  Instead of relying on luck to get discovered by a music label, they can offer up their own music to content creators, for free.  Then, if the video goes viral, the song goes viral along with it, opening up new opportunities for the artist.

Tony Higgins

A spokesperson from Vimeo told me via email, “The Vimeo Music store provides artists with exposure to the Vimeo community.  For example, filmmaker Danny Cooke found a track by Tony Higgins (aka Junior 85), from the Free Music Archive library, and used it in his film, Our Glass of Cockington.  The two ‘met’ (virtually) via Vimeo when Tony liked Danny’s video (which featured his music); this led to Danny commissioning Tony to create the music for his next short film Ray: A Life Underwater.  The duo continues to work together and plans to release a film for a film festival.”


Tony Higgins isn’t the only artist who has gained recognition via the Vimeo Music Store.  Bad Panda is a free-download label that releases a new Creative Commons licensed song every Monday and features over 109 artists from 30 countries.  They recently curated one artist’s music, Possimiste.  Possimiste is an 18-year old from Estonia.  She is a self-proclaimed “uber-experimentalist” whose music has been featured in multiple videos, commercials and sountracks.  Her track “Behind the Seas” is currently #8 in the Vimeo Music Store Recommendations, and thanks to discovery through Bad Panda and the Vimeo Music Store, she has been commissioned to create original music for a video for Design Within Reach.


YACHT is another artist that had his music go viral, thanks to the Vimeo Music Store.  YACHT’s Jona Bechtolt made his music available to Vimeo’s noncommercial video making community and his track “Dystopia” was used in the Fight for the Future video ‘PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet’, which has been viewed over 1.6 million times to date.

Musicians looking to add their music to the Vimeo Music Store can submit their work to Free Music Archive to license their music using a Creative Commons license or contact Audiosocket to license their music commercially.

Image credit: Anna Paff via Shutterstock

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.