Tuned In

A young music licensing company grows an innovative business amid tasteful design, very few walls and wide open spaces.

A drive to the Musicbed offices in North Fort Worth might lead you to believe you will land in the monotony of suburbia.  But, quite the contrary – a step inside the two-story warehouse, just west of Alliance Town Center, reveals you are actually in the middle of a creative paradise…and maybe a few-dozen hipsters.

While near suburbia might not immediately come to mind as the proper location for a fast-growing music licensing company that works with movie studios, up-and-coming artists and international ad agencies, the space was just what Musicbed needed when it moved from a Near Southside office location a year ago.

Fort Worth natives and Southwest High School graduates Daniel McCarthy, 29, and Nic Carfa, 30, founded Musicbed in 2011.  The Full-service licensing platform provides music, from independent artists, for anything that has music behind a motion picture.  That includes everything from wedding videos to national commercials and films.

“We work with major advertising agencies to find and place music in their advertising,” said Josh Read, vice president of marketing.

Chances are that you hear music licensed by Musicbed regularly without even knowing it.  Its client list has grown to more than 170,000 and touts major players including Netflix, Nike and ABC.  The duo started off working with 35 musicians and has since expanded to the tune of more than 700 artists.  The Musicbed selection is large, but the team is picky about the music it selects.  It receives more than 50 submissions a day, but only accept less than 1 percent of musicians.

It was this growth that lead to a move for the Musicbed headquarters.  The team looked closer to town, but eventually landed on something that could only be found on the outskirts - a 16,000-square-foot warehouse sitting on 9 acres.  The industrial-style warehouse was no problem for CEO Daniel McCarthy.  A creative with a design background, he designed and decorated virtually every corner, transforming the empty warehouse into an imaginative space, thanks to a sizable three-month renovation.

A palette of grey and white sets the stage for levels of creativity.  Polished concrete floors and stark walls create a canvas for neutral furnishings highlighted by brown leather and other modern, yet understated masculine touches.  McCarthy stocked the office with mostly Choice pieces from Restoration Hardware and West Elm.  Open spaces and glass doors cultivate a collaborative work environment.

Multiple common areas also blur the lines of work and play for the more than 40 employees.  The kitchen has espresso machines, an oversized island and a large dining table.  It overlooks a patio ripe for happy hours with benches and umbrellas.

And then you reach the warehouse behind Musicbed headquarters - a studio with walls and floors painted black.  “The goal was to create the best sounding music venue in the Fort Worth area,” said Read.

That’s no small order for a city with spots like Lola’s, Live Oak and Shipping & Receiving.  But, the Musicbed team worked toward this goal with nearly $200,000 worth of production-quality equipment provided by Musicbed session sponsors including Rode Microphones, Guitar Center, Presonus Speakers and Blackmagic Design.

The venue is used to host the site’s best-selling bands once a month.  The shows are free, and Musicbed brings in food trucks, attracting up to 200 people a show.  Each session is filmed and then turned into curated content for the Musicbed website, which boasts between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors a month.

When asked why Fort Worth is the right spot for Musicbed, the answer is simple.

“The option is to move to Los Angeles or New York.  But, as soon as we did that, we would be much more location focused.  Here we are able to create what we want because we aren’t influenced by the Hollywood scene,” said Josh.

Also operating out of the sleek office is a Musicbed spinoff company, Filmsupply.  It offers a similar service, licensing stock video footage with a library of clips from filmmakers.

As for what they will do with their 9 acres of space?  Read has an idea.  “Probably expand and build more offices.”

That will be a sight to see and hear.