Licensing Your Music

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As an artist, we put a lot of time and hard work into writing songs and recording. Many times though the fruits of those labours are not recouped from performing live and doing events. The amount of time put in towards trying to create a hit song, and putting a campaign behind it can be a daunting task. Because of this many artists feel stuck and frustrated, as if caught in an endless circle. After making all of that music, and investing, where do you go next? I would like to propose to you, that it is time to try licensing.

Licensing is when you license your music to TV shows, commercials, movies or video games either independently or through a publishing company. This is an area often passed over by artists when thinking of where to put their music. Through licensing, depending on the deal, you can start anywhere from $500 and again depending on the deal go all the way up to the millions of dollars range. We have all watched a television show or blockbuster movie, only to hear either one of our favourite songs or a song you’ve never heard of, by some unknown artist. As a medium licensing is one of the best ways to get your music to a much broader audience, and depending on how you play your cards, some television shows, or movie projects will sometimes have you play a small role in a scene which means screen time, and another paycheck for your appearance.

All of this sounds great and potentially lucrative, but now you’re asking yourself, how do I do this? After you have written and recorded let’s say twenty tracks, then the first thing you do is organise them by topic, or potentially scenes that you could pitch them for. The next step is to register your works with Socan for the purpose of royalty collection. After that, you will want to copyright your songs for protection before you pitch them. Once all of your songs have been protected, you need to come up with a small pitch for them, giving a visual of what scenes they might be good for. Make sure that the songs really connect with the scene you are trying to create.

Now that your pitch is complete comes the real legwork, you have to start researching publishing companies, or look for a publishing deal, and if you don’t want to go that route then your other option is to watch a lot of television shows, and movies and skip to the credits and look up the “Music Supervisor” or you can contact casting companies to see who you can talk to about submitting your music and also building the relationship so that you are able to become the go to person for music.

Now that you have built some relationships, and maybe even gotten some of your music onto different projects, the next step is to start going to the music conferences, and networking events to start getting bigger opportunities. As you slowly rise in a number of projects you have done, more people will start to recognise you and want to work with you. The great thing about licensing is that you get paid for your work, but on many projects, you can also make a royalty for your music. When I say royalty I mean, you can still be getting paid ten to twenty years later off of work that you are doing now. So, to recap, if you are an artist that is great with writing, and loves to record, licensing is a great way to build your name and product, and help you build a budget to do bigger projects, or even set up tours. It gives you access to big corporations and small indie projects. Time do something with those old songs.


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