As the former member of a rock band, Jared Gutstadt knows that musicians don’t always have a knack for business. But he doesn’t fall in that category.

Gutstadt’s thriving Santa Monica music marketing firm, Jingle Punks, is helping the 3,000 artists on its books earn cash by licensing their songs to advertisers, films and TV shows.

The company said it generated $18 million in revenue last year and has grown each year since launching in 2008 with five staffers. Jingle Punks now employs 55 people at its Santa Monica hub as well as satellite offices in London, New York, Toronto and Sydney.

“Most musicians have no idea how to get their songs in ads, TV shows and movies,” said Gutstadt, the firm’s chief executive. “We make that happen.”

Gutstadt drew on his past experience playing in bands, composing TV theme tunes and editing music for MTV shows to create the company with co-founder Dan Demole.

Jingle Punks splits license fees 50-50 with its artists, who are generally unsigned, independent musicians.

Is that a steep price?

“Other music libraries have different policies and rates, some higher, some lower,” said Gutstadt. “If I was a musician, I’d be comfortable that if someone sells my music for a dollar it means 50 cents for me.”

Production companies searching for the right kind of sound for their project can either use the firm’s patented Jingle Player database and search engine, or hire an artist from Jingle Punks’ roster to record an original track.

“If this business were a group, it would be like a garage band who have suddenly grown as big as U2,” said Gutstadt, noting his company offers artists a chance to replace income that used to come from CD sales.

The Canadian-born L.A. resident refers to himself as “Jingle Jared” and has a penchant for cowboy hats. He attributes much of his success to his eccentric personality, which is reflected in his clothing.

“I always wear a cowboy hat to meetings in the way samurais would put on a mask before going into battle,” said Gutstadt. “It’s my stage gear.”

– Sandro Monetti

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