Pick 3 To 5 Tracks From Your Catalogue
If youre not sure theyre good enough, try anyway. Youll soon find out. Theres nothing that kills the musicians ambitions quite like perfectionism.
Still, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
- Songs and/or instrumentals are fine. Explicit lyrics very rarely are.
- No samples! Apple loops and such are fine. Samples from other artists work or copyrighted speeches are not.
- You should own the rights to the tracks youre submitting. In case of co-authors, make sure youre all on the same page and ok to seek out licensing opportunities.
- Check with your publisher and/or label before you doing anything with your music, including look for licensing opportunities.
Earning More Money From Your Licensing Through Public Performance Royalties
If you’re lucky enough to get a song placed on TV, then you are also going to be entitled to earn public performance royalties! These backend royalties are collected by your Performing Rights Organization – I used BMI and would recommend it! These performance royalties can be one of the biggest possible perks of song licensing, because if your song gets licensed for the right show, you could be earning serious bank.
In order to get paid for these performances, you need to be sure that you register each song with your PRO. Then, when your song is broadcast as part of a TV show, the production company files a “cue sheet” with your PRO. Every TV station pays a license fee to the PRO, and depending on how frequently your song is played, you earn a pro-rated share of those fees.
Sometimes it’s only a few dollars per broadcast, but it can really add up. Backend royalties have boosted my music licensing earnings by thousands of dollars through broadcasting music I licensed through Pond 5. And the best news is that every time that TV show is rebroadcast or streamed, you get paid. It’s one of the ways the music licensing can really create passive income for you!
How To Record Your Song For Music Licensing
The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to license your music is that you can only use “cleared” samples. What does that mean? Well, you have to have permission to use the underlying sounds. So you can’t take a smooth Michael McDonald hit from the 80s, sample a few seconds of it, and then include it in a song for licensing. But if you , you’re usually allowed to use the samples in your productions.
Obviously you’re going to want your songs to sound as professional as possible. However, recording your music at a professional studio is unlikely to be cost effective. Most of the songs you release for licensing won’t earn you very much money. You have no way to really guess which songs will be successful, so you need to keep your production costs down. That means learning to be a better producer and mixer.
If you’re focused on selling your songs, then when you record, the main thing to focus on is avoiding distracting sounds and performances. You want to avoid harsh resonances and feedback . In other words, you want a nice clean performance.
Just put yourself in the shoes of a buyer theyre probably buying production music to play in the background. You dont need to worry that you cant capture pristine sounds like Nigel Goodrich, you just need to be good enough to get a clear, clean recording. That way, viewers focus on the message without getting distracted by the song.
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The Creator’s Guide To Music Licensing
Most film historians agree The Jazz Singer launched the Golden Age of Hollywood.
This era defined many of the major movie genres, produced thousands of motion pictures with iconic stars, and established Hollywood as the filmmaking capital of the world.
What, exactly, was so special about The Jazz Singer? It was the first major motion picture to feature a synchronized recorded music score and lip-synced singing. For the first time, recorded music and sound worked in tandem with visuals to connect audiences to the story on the screen.
Yet whether its Youtube videos, podcasts, or even independent films, digital media still relies on music to establish a mood and evoke the right emotional response from the audience. A lot has changed since the Golden Age of Hollywood, but good music remains as important as ever.
Back in the day, studios hired entire orchestras to score one film. Unless youre raking in the dough, you probably cant fly in a full set of classically-trained musicians.
This brings us to one of the looming problems for creators: How do you get the right music for your work?
Register Your Songs With A Pro
Always register songs you plan on licensing with a Performance Rights Organisation .
If you already know what a PRO is and have already registered your songs with yours, move on to step 3!
PROs are the organisations that ensure that you get paid royalties when one of your tunes is performed on radio, TV, etc.
In the US, that could be ASCAP or BMI. In the UK its PRS. SACEM is the one in France.
You only need to register with one. PROs around the world collaborate with each other to collect royalties in their territory and coordinate with other PROs to get the composers paid.
Theres no need to be fancy about it. Just register with the PRO of your choice.
Check out this list of PROs to find out the options in your part of the world and how to license your music there.
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Option : Building Relationships Yourself
Youâre in complete control and decide who you want to work with.
You also get to keep all the money .
On top of that itâs highly gratifying when you pull it off and relationships you build that way tend to be stronger and more rewarding .
Itâs a LOT of work, takes a lot of time and youâre going to fail a lot.
As an indie musician, youâre probably used to all that but still, itâs something to consider. Maybe youâre not in a place right now where you can take a lot of rejection.
How to get started?
Stay focused. If you write in different genres, focus on one to get started.
Study the market. Go on YouTube, do research on TV shows, video games, films, fashion shows, retail stores, any place that features music in public. Figure out where your genre of music is already being used.
Start small. Sure, you can go ahead and try to get an internship with Hans Zimmer, Iâd never discourage you from trying! But be prepared for a lot of rejection. By starting small, youâre giving yourself a chance to experiment and make mistakes without big consequences.
Slow and steady beats fast and erratic pretty much every time. If youâre going to build long-lasting relationships in the industry, you need to show that youâre reliable. Music supervisors, filmmakers, they need to be able to count on you and trust youâll deliver. Slow and steady ensures you donât burn out.
How Do I Get My Music Licensed
There are a variety of ways an artist can make a living from their music these days, so it can be overwhelming for those trying to figure out how to choose the routes that are best for them. Although it can be difficult, music licensing can provide a solid source of income. So, what exactly is music licensing, and how can artists license their music and earn income from it?
Heres an overview of how you can get your music licensed.
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How Do You Know Which Music Libraries Are The Right Fit
Well, you dont right from the get go.
Its important that you research the music libraries youre thinking of submitting to.
Because different libraries offer different things:
- Licensing deals
- Genres of music
Here are a few examples that are all different that will hopefully give you a better idea of what I’m talking about
What Are Music Libraries
They are platforms that curate music and make it available to license.
Their role is not to promote your music to venues or potential fans. They don’t really care about that, it’s not their business.
The focus of music libraries is to make your tracks available for licensing to potential customers like ad agencies, YouTubers, videographers, indie filmmakers, music supervisors on TV shows , etc.
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Q: What Is A Public Performance Of Music And What Is The Performing Right
A public performance of music is defined in U.S. copyright law to include any music played outside a normal circle of friends and family that occurs in any public place. A public performance also occurs when music is transmitted to the public, via radio, TV broadcasts, digital service providers, and any other means. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right to play their music publicly and to authorize others to do so under the copyright law. This is known as the Performing Right. This right was designed to enable and encourage music creators to receive compensation for the music they create. BMI only licenses performing rights and does not license mechanical or synchronization rights. For more information on performing rights, click here.
Best Music Licensing Companies That Can Get Your Music Placed Final Thoughts
Signing up with a licensing company does not guarantee success by any means.
Success is dependent on hard work and your ability and willingness to give music supervisors what theyre looking for.
So, if youre serious about placements, think of it as a full-time job making and submitting your music.
If youd just like a bit of mailbox money, then maybe you could upload your music to a music library and leave it at that. You might get a placement. You might not.
Regardless, its an opportunity worth exploring, even if the competition is significant.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you’ve learned will matter if you don’t know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free 5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career’ ebook emailed directly to you!
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What Our Members Say
Out of the classes I have taken, Joyce Ketterings program is my favorite. No crazy promises, no taking advantage of peoples dreams and insecurities just grounded, clear info and a realistic long-haul trajectory of making money doing what I love in the way I do it best!
What initially attracted me to this course is that its taught by a person who has already slogged thru, already made the mistakes, already done the research and is actually earning revenue from sync licensing. If you want a detailed roadmap for starting and building up a sync licensing business around your music, look no further. The time youll save in research alone is worth more than what the course costs.
I have learned so much through the course itself and most of all, the live discussions. The biggest benefit is the 1 on 1 encouragement and the confidence I get moving forward.
Hey Joyce. Wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the course. I could tell again from the call yesterday that you are genuinely interested in the students progress and success.
The program is AWESOME! Ive taken other licensing courses and that there is no comparison. This gives you all the tools you need to get organized and submit your music and increase your odds. And Joyce is there for you. She really cares, vets her leads and knows what shes talking about. The community alone is worth the price of admission. Its great to have someone like Joyce in your corner.
Upload The Song And Tag It With Keywords That Sell
I recommend signing up for an account with Pond 5 for the reasons described in this post. You cant go wrong with them, and you can always join other sites later.
From there, youll want to upload your first song and give it a nice descriptive title. Many music licensing sites will place a high emphasis on the song title for ranking search results. So to have better success licensing your music, be sure to include a keyword or two in your title.
I’ve had a lot of success with a format like this: “Grim Reaper .”
Be sure to write a strong description & use 50 evocative keywords. These keywords are called metadata, and it’s really important to get it right. This step is honestly just as important as creating licensable music, because no one will find your song without a good description, title, and keywords.
For the description of the song, you want to craft a short narrative to let the reader know about the emotion of the song, what it sounds like, how long it lasts, and how it might be used.
For the keyword metadata, youll want to use a solid mix of terms that describe the tone of the song, who it sounds like, what its technical details are, any unusual instruments used, and how it might be used, but not in a narrative way.
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How To Sell Music Online
Working with music licensing libraries is one of the easiest ways to sell music online. A music library will take care of all the complicated stuff, like contracts, payment, taxes, etc. Plus, it’s in their interest to sell your music, since they take a portion of the revenue.
And once you’ve had some placements in TV or Film, you can use that to help promote your other music!
As I’ll describe in more detail below, sync licensing is where you team up with music licensing sites to try to get your music licensed for TV, Radio, Podcasts, YouTube, etc. While these types of sales may be fewer than you would receive from iTunes, I make $10-20 every time one of my songs is licensed. And you can still put your music on iTunes for sale, if you’d like!
Pitching To Music Supervisors
If you have a personal relationship with a music supervisor, great! Send him or her some of your music and ask if he or she wants to use it.
If you dont, you can always meet people by attending music conferences, having a friend introduce you, or buying a music supervisor a beer at SXSW. But on behalf of music supervisors everywhere, dont be a weirdo and stalk people personal relationships are great, but this isnt the only prerequisite to getting someone to pay attention to your pitch. According to Hochstein, If you can build hype organically through blogsmusic supervisors pay attention to that.
Do a ton of background research before sending a pitch to a music supervisor. What is he or she working on? This should never be a copy-and-paste pitch blasted out to hundreds of people. It simply wont work, and you may get blacklisted by some. By all means, pitch to more than one music supervisor, but give each a personal touch. Introduce yourself, send your music, and be concise.
Hochstein once again advises, Dont be annoying. If a music supervisor responds to you and shows interest, dont assume they want to be your best friend and want to use all your music. Be cool! If you get some positive feedback, dont keep bugging them.
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How To Write Your Song For Music Licensing
When you’re writing music for licensing, it’s always important to be true to yourself. Don’t try to overthink things in an attempt to license your music. Just add these simple rules to what you already do, and you’ll be sure to be licensing your music in no time!
One principle underlies both of these rules. The most important thing is that you quickly capture, and then maintain, a potential client’s attention. It’s been said that these days you only have 7 seconds to get someone’s attention. This means that any song you write for licensing needs to have a clear attention-grabbing intro that clearly foreshadows where the song is going.
Successful stock music for licensing tends to have two traits:
When it comes to maintaining a consistent tone, it’s important not to get too clever. For example, “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles is one of the most brilliant songs ever recorded, but the massive changes in tone make it totally inappropriate for music licensing.
Why is having a major change in your song bad for music licensing?
Because you want a potential client to know exactly what type of music they’re listening to from the moment they hit play! If its a dramatic classical piece, it should remain a dramatic classical piece.
How To License Your Music 101
In this in-depth video tutorial, I’ll walk you through all the steps involved in licensing your music. Think of it as an introduction to music licensing, or music licensing 101. It’s got lots of great slides and moves at a relaxing pace!
So if you’ve got 30 minutes to spend, it’s probably the best way to get an introduction to licensing your music!
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Do Your Research And Get Organized
Regardless of whether you choose to go it alone or seek the help of a third-party licensing agent, youâll need to be extremely organized. This is because no matter what, your files and metadata will be what gets sent to a music supervisor, music editor, producer, showrunner, director, intern, or whoever is ultimately placing your music, whether itâs in a Disney picture or your friendâs student film. And remember, they are very busy, and they also want to make something great. So helping them do their job well and efficiently is going to help you get more licenses.
Do your research
First, itâs good to have a lay of the land. Fortunately, that means watching more movies, binging on some #hot #new shows, and while youâre watching, paying close attention to the tunes and who put them there. Keep your phone handy, and if you hear something you like, look it up. Check out online resources like TuneFind , iSpot.tv , and IMDb . Pay attention to how music is being used, and which pieces are âunderscoreâ vs. whatâs licensed. As you do this, ask yourself, âWhere would my music fit in?â This will help give you a realistic idea of how likely your music is to be licensed for something similar, as well as which projects, creators, and music supervisors are worth targeting.
With that in mind, **hereâs everything Terrorbird asks of a new client, or new release. Ideally we get all of the below delivered to us at least a month before its release date: