Film Review – Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod

Kevin MacLeod

With the onset of streaming and the digitisation of music, it has become increasingly difficult for musicians to make a living. With meagre royalties from the likes of Spotify and Youtube, as well of the perennial threat of piracy, it has never been harder to maintain a career as a full-time performer. The old ways of working have been replaced by a brave new online world. Licencing and access have become vitally important.

There’s no doubt you’ll have heard a song composed by Kevin MacLeod, even if you’ve never heard of the man himself. This is because he decided to release his music royalty free, either crediting him or paying a small one-off amount to licence his tracks. This has resulted in his work being used in thousands if not millions of different media, from the likes of Scorsese’s Hugo to random TikTok videos. Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod tells his story.

Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod looks at how the composer became so well know within digital circles and yet so completely ignored in the wider world. Not only does Ryan Camarda’s documentary analyse this success, speaking to a number peers and fans, it looks at the wider impact of this kind of releasing on traditional music industry practices. Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod is a lively and loose film about a modern musical magician.

Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod is released on DVD and on Digital in the US on 29 March.

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