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iStock launches iStockaudio for royalty-free clips

First came stock photography, then illustrations, video, and Flash animations. Now iStock is licensing audio clips, too.

As expected, iStockphoto launched its audio clip licensing service, called iStockaudio, on Wednesday.

The move marks another expansion for a site that pioneered the "microstock" business of inexpensive, royalty-free image licensing over the Internet. The company, acquired by stock art power Getty Images in 2006, also offers video, Flash animations, and vector illustrations.

iStock Chief Executive Bruce Livingstone announced the availability of the audio licensing Wednesday in a blog posting. The company has been accumulating audio clips over the last year, and now 10,000 are available.

"You can use our iStock tracks as many times as you like, wherever you like," Livingstone said. "Our tracks include public performance, synchronization, and mechanical licenses."

That means there are constraints on audio contributors, though, who may not be members of various professional organizations.

"iStockphoto has used reasonable efforts to ensure that the suppliers of audio content are not members of any performing rights, mechanical rights or any other similar societies (such as SOCAN, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, PRS, MCPS, SACEM, SDRM, JASLAC, GEMA, etc.) and that no performing rights or other royalties are required to be paid to any such organizations," according to the iStockaudio license agreement.

When a customer licenses an audio clip--the noise of smashing glass or a background melody, for example--the company shares a percentage of the revenue with the contributor of the clip. Licensing fees range from 2 credits for a basic, simple clip to 25 credits for a long, elaborate one; credit costs range from $18 for 12 to $1,900 for 2,000.