Getting your music licensed, like most things in today’s music industry requires consistent effort but it is necessary.
As an independent artist, building a sustainable career will require you to do more make and sell music direct o fans (if you are able to do that even). There are a few other revenue streams that you will need to consider like;
- touring/live shows
- Merchandise sales
- Getting your music licensed
With regards to the latter of the above three mentioned options, it can be considerably easier and more efficient to try and get your songs in films and TV using a licensing agent but like most things, it can be done by yourself.
Whichever way you decide to approach this side of the business, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of landing deals.
Ok so hopefully up have not spent too much time standing right next to the speakers in the club and your hearing is still in check and trustworthy. Now you need to listen to the music that is out there getting used in your favourite TV shows and adverts and see how your music compares. Not so much the lyrics and concepts but more the quality of the sound. Is your track mixed properly? Is the song mastered?
When submitting your music for consideration for anything, you want to make it as hard as possible for the listener to throw you in the discard pile. Having an un-mixed and un-mastered track is an easy way to ensure you do not get shortlisted.
Want to know what kind of music makes it into TV and films? Watch a lot of TV and find out. Now you have a great excuse for Netflix and chill…..you’re doing research! Seriously though, it’s actually important that you watch a lot of shows. This gives you an idea of how music is used in visual media. You will want to know what opportunities there are for you getting your songs licensed. While watching a show, turn down the volume on the TV and play your music over a particular scene. Is it a nice fit? Does your music enhance the scene in any way?
Topic of Conversation
You may find that the music that you already have written will fit nicely into some programmes and this is the ideal situation to be in. You will notice certain themes to the songs that tend to get licensed more and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting to write songs to these topics.
Some people might see this as compromising on their creativity and if you feel that way, by all means, don’t go down this road but if we would encourage you to do it even if just as an experiment. Write songs for TV and see if you’re more successful at getting your music licensed with these songs than with your other songs.
Bonding is Beautiful
Whether you are going at this alone or you are going to try pitching your music using music publishers, networking and relationship building will be skills you are going to need to employ and improve on. Music supervisors are notorious for only taking song suggestions from people they know and trust.
When you think about the amount of music that is out there, this actually makes sense. The more trusted filters they have the, easier the process of finding music becomes easier and more efficient.
If you are hoping to become one of these sources, then it is important that you use integrity when submitting music. It only takes one bad/irrelevant submission. That’s all it takes to ruin the chances of building a good relationship with a music supervisor or music publisher.
You should already be registered as a songwriter with a relevant performing rights society (e.g. PRS – UK, ASCAP – US, Sacem – France, etc). If you are going down the route of self-publishing, then chances are you will also need to register a publishing company to publish your songs through.
Whatever your goals are as an artist/musician, ultimately you want to be able to wake up every day and make music and make a living from doing what you love. Getting your music licensed will be an important part of this process and you can make it work.
It will require you to be determined and committed to making little steps every day, but it can be done.
Ready to Get Started?
If you feel like you want to start pursuing licensing deals on your own, then we would recommend getting the 2016 Music Licensing Business Directory which contains the contact info of the people you will need to be in touch with to further your career.
Or if you would like to learn more about getting your music licensed in TV and film, then here is a 2 hour video course that might help.