ClicknClear founder Chantal Epp.
ClicknClear 11th Mar 2022

How music rights-holders can cash in on performance sports

ClicknClear founder Chantal Epp talks about the difficulties and opportunities that this often overlooked revenue stream presents. From cheerleading to figure skating, licensing sports routines could be a multi-billion dollar market for music rights holders…

I founded ClicknClear in 2017 when I saw a huge gap in a new market highlighted by a landmark lawsuit. In 2015, Sony Music sued a music producer and event organiser in the cheerleading industry that was using music illegally. At the time, I was working in music licensing at CueSongs, as well as owning a music production company for cheerleading and dance. I knew I could combine my knowledge and experience on both sides of the market and create a solution that would open up an entirely new revenue stream in the music industry. I launched ClicknClear in beta in 2018.

We estimated potential extra revenue from licensing music for cheerleading alone to be worth $50 million and launched an industry-wide call to labels, publishers, artist managers and trade bodies to take advantage. The response has been amazing, but we now know what a conservative estimate that $50 million was!

Five years later, our estimate of the potential revenue in the performance sports market is a huge US$2.4billion annually.

Today, ClicknClear has deals with more than 750 music industry rightsholders who represent hundreds of thousands of labels and publishers – including our recently announced blanket deal for the entire global catalogue of Warner Music. We also have blanket deals with Sony Music, Universal Music Publishing, Sony Music Publishing and hundreds of independent labels and publishers. This enables ClicknClear to offer the largest selection of music for the entire performance sports industry, including individuals, teams, event producers and federations.

News broke this week that figure skaters (US Figure Skating) and broadcasters covering the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are also being sued for music copyright infringement – once again highlighting the ongoing issues between music and sports.

For standard uses of music, like listening at home for personal enjoyment, and playing music in a public venue like an ice-skating rink, music rights are relatively easy to obtain – they are taken care of by streaming services and collecting societies respectively. But, like we’ve seen at the Winter Olympics, using music as part of a sports routine requires a wider set of rights including adaptation, choreography and sync that need to be cleared by each record label and publisher to ensure they receive their royalties.

Music is already being used widely in these sports, but the sector needs a way to properly license the music performers wish to use in their routines.

"This is a previously untapped revenue stream that the entire music business can benefit from."

It is a complicated, lengthy and daunting process for individual athletes and performers to identify owners and gain permission from each one. The high volume and complex ownership structure of music IP means that around one billion licenses a year are needed worldwide to properly cater for this one market, which precludes a traditional licensing approach from the music industry. This has led to artists and songwriters unable to appropriately monetise the use of their music and, as we have seen this week, the sports sector is regularly finding itself faced with litigation.

ClicknClear has created a unique new approach, using technology to unlock the market and enforce the use of music with a rights-matching database, a licensing platform and a license verification system.

Due to the varying needs of our sports clients across cheerleading, dance sport, color guard, indoor skydiving and more, we need music from various different types of genres, and music from around the world – so it’s beneficial for rightsholders with diverse repertoire to make their tracks available to license on our platform.

We are working with music rightsholders, especially among the independents, to grow our catalogue of pre-cleared music available for use in performance sports competitions. We aim to ensure a fair, transparent and above all legally compliant model, that ensures rightsholders and artists are rightfully paid. This is a previously untapped revenue stream that the entire music business can benefit from.


ClicknClear delivers officially licensed music to performance sports and fitness worldwide with a huge and growing catalogue from up and coming to popular artists.