How to License Your Music and Get Placed in Movies, TV and Games?
Being an artist, a singer, or a composer you have so many ways of making money from your art.
Though I know it is not your main concern to earn money at the end of the day, it is a great source of encouragement for you. You love doing what you do. For you, music licensing can be a great source for generating revenue. So you have to know about sync licensing and how to license your music in detail.
In today’s world, there are so many ways the makers need some good music for their movies, drama, video games, advertisements, streaming, and YouTube videos; sync licensing has the potential of generating a huge amount of money for the music owners and creators.
Not considering it as a source of earning will cause a great loss to the creators. I don’t think for an artist it is a good thing to do. This way you will only devalue your creation.
So, let’s dive deep into knowing more about sync licensing and how to license your music elaborately.
What is Sync Licensing
Synchronization or sync licensing is a new concept in the world of music. It has so many earning potential for the owner or the composer of the music. It is just one of the ways of music licensing but it is getting very popular with time these days.
Sync license is a music license that is granted by the owner or the music composer for particular music content. This license allows the licensee or the purchaser to use the music for their work like drama, cinema, YouTube channel, video games, advertisements, TV shows, and others. This is any time that your music will be synced in time relation to a visual medium.
In most cases, the music belongs to the publishing house. It somehow represents the owner of the music. Not necessarily the composer has the entire entitlement of the music all the time. The copyright is divided into two categories.
Master Sound Recording
This is the recorded music or studio recording. It is normally owned by a record label if there is any. This is the finished original score of a sound in general.
It is about all the little parts that are embedded in an entire musical creation like musical notes, melody, and lyrics. Most of these are written and composed by the songwriter and composer. But these are mostly owned by the publisher who gets the opportunity of publishing the content eventually.
You can make tons of money with sync licensing. But the money you will earn from it will be much dependent on where your song is going to be used. If it is in the opening credit, a trailer of something or in the middle of a very crucial scene. Also the part of the song which is going to be used or is it going to be covered by some other artist.
Negotiations For Sync Licensing
When a director, scriptwriter or producer decides to use a particular music part in his work then he approaches the owner of that musical content. So according to the need for that music piece the owner offers the director a one-time charge for using the content in his work.
The offering price will be dependent on so many factors and according to it, the asking price will be decided. Depending on the popularity of the song the price range can vary a little number of dollars for a not so popular song to a few thousand dollars for a popular song.
So it is very crucial to have good negotiation for the owner’s part. But he will have to make sure that there is a win-win situation. Devaluing his works will never bring any good to his arts.
Benefits of Sync Licensing
For a musician, there are plenty of benefits of sync licensing. Even if you are an expert musician who has been in the industry for a while or a new one, you can get significant outcomes from sync licensing.
This could be a great source for generating revenue for you if you are a musician. It will also let you find some more fans for your music. Music included in a newer creation will let more people know about the music and that will eventually lead to the musician. Earlier they were unaware of it and after hearing it they will start loving the music and the musician both.
The new fan base will listen to the older version, talk about it and share it with their friends. Even in this era of social media, there is quite a significant chance of the song going viral on the internet. This way the old music will get more exposure and attention of new listeners.
So in a way, sync licensing can give older songs a new life. It would bring new following base and stream of more royalties with it.
If you are still only thinking about all the other old ways like selling CDs, singing in events and attending live shows are the only source of making money, then you are only ruining your potential as an artist. You have to explore and adapt to all the changes that are coming into the industry.
Sync licenses can be a great source of passive income for you. It can make the possibility of generating royalties and usage fees from older creations. The continuous passive earning opportunity should seem very lucrative to you as with passive income there is no limit of earning opportunities.
Knowing The Value Of The Music
Determining the value of the music depends on many things. The independent filmmaker can be in a very tight budget. So paying a lot of money to get the sync license he might find quite difficult. In such cases, the music owner should consider the state of the music piece and how much attention will it get by selling the sync license of that music piece. If there is a possibility of getting a wider audience, then selling it at a decent price will be a good idea. Sometimes, such a little bit of compromise can become the best decision for a musician later.
What is Music Licensing
Every original song needs to be copyrighted. So, music licensing is when copyrighted music is given to another creator for using it in his project under a license. Through music licensing the makers of the music gets the guarantee of getting paid for some certain use of their copyrighted music score.
The whole procedure is done under an agreement. Each agreement explains in detail how that content of music will be used by the licensee. Here in this agreement, the owner of the licensed work is the licensor and the person or an entity to whom the work is licensed is the licensee.
So music licensing is a contract and it states how long a musical score can be used, in which ways it can be used, and in which medium it will be used. This is as simple as it is. But it gets complicated sometimes when the licensee has an unclear idea of how the music will be used. It is very important to use the music just the way the license is given.
Duration of Music Licensing
It is a very integral part of music licensing. While music licensing the duration to use of the musical piece is given the utmost importance. All the license of music contains when the work can be used. In most of the time, the time limit is mentioned like this;
There is a mention of a certain time limit for using the music content. Within this time, a licensee gets the permission to use the song to meet his intended purpose according to the license, of course.
This is very common in aspect music license.
In this case, there is no time duration so far. It is different from the earlier one. Here a licensor is paid based on the use or sale of his original work rather than following a certain time limit.
So these both approaches are seen as a way of determining the duration of the music license.
Why One Should Use Licensed Music
If you think for your business you need a particular music piece, then it is better to use licensed music. Just mere licensing won’t work, you have to make sure that you do appropriate sorts of licensing for the musical content. Using any original musical score without the permission of the owner is illegal. It might cause you a handsome amount of money also some unnecessary legal issues. Most importantly it will tarnish your reputation.
I am sure that you don’t want to face this hassle before the courtroom and all other related embarrassments. So you should get a license of the musical score that you intend to use without considering any other option. Because this is the only right thing to do in this case. Do it legally and stay tensionless with your works.
How to License Your Music
Being an artist of this era, you can generate a really good revenue of music by licensing your music. So knowing all the technical and theoretical “know-how” about this music licensing can be proved very beneficial to your musical journey.
There are some steps for licensing your music. Getting all your tracks ready for licensing will be very good when the opportunity comes in the way. To license your musical content you must follow all these steps;
Select Your Tracks and Export It In Best Quality Digital Audio File Format
From all your musical creations try to select the best tracks that you want to get licensed. Don’t be confused in choosing those contents. Looking for too much perfection can be detrimental to a music artist. But you have to manage copyrights of those original musical scores of yours. To get the copyright you have to follow all legal stuff needed for it.
You should check out if the songs and instrumentals are okay and there are any explicit lyrics hardly.
There is nothing that is not inspired by other artists’ work. So, there is no scope of copyright violation.
You have to be the only owner of the musical creation. If there is a co-owner, then make sure he agrees with you to get the license work done for the musical score. You also have to make sure your publisher or label has an idea about what you are doing with the music work.
After considering all of these, you can export the music in a high-quality digital audio file like mp3 or wav. If you fail to export in these formats then you can choose the best format available so far.
No matter what you have to maintain the quality of the audio file, if needed you can outsource an expert for doing so.
Input Meta Data To Your Music Tracks
Living in this digital era, you must have heard the term metadata by now. You have to make sure that you have added proper metadata to your audio file. This metadata will help you to find your musical tracks in the online space properly. This metadata kind of gets tagged with the audio.
Whenever a user double clicks these audio files to play in any app, all the metadata will be shown with the song.
Most of the common metadata in a song or musical pieces are;
- Artist name
- Album name
- Composer name
- Recording date
Adding other contact information to the track will make it easier for people to find you to discuss more about getting a license for your songs. If you don’t know how to add these metadatas to your track then you are just a simple Google search away.
Make Time To Create a Spreadsheet Of All Your Tracks
Now that you are ready with creating all your audio files, it’s time to create a database of all your tracks. You have to make time for creating it as in the long run it will have a proper in-depth idea about all your tracks and where it is being used.
For doing so you have to open a spreadsheet. You can choose to have a Google spreadsheet. This way you will be able to have an idea about all your titles wherever you are as it will be stored in the clouds.
In the spreadsheet, you have to enter the name of the song, description of the song and the keywords associated with it. You can write down the probable licensing opportunities this song will bring. Also, you can maintain a column to whom and for which part of the music track license is given.
Go And Register Your Songs With A PRO
After doing all the things mentioned above, you have to register the songs that you are thinking about getting licensed with a PRO or performance rights organization.
If you don’t know what is PRO then, it is a performance rights society. It is there to provide intermediary functions especially collection of royalties or one-time earnings between the copyright holder of a certain musical piece and the user of that musical piece.
So this is the organization that ensures that you get paid for your created music piece from the user. Whenever your registered content is used in any TV shows, movies and other works you get paid as a royalty.
In the US to protect this right of an artist, there is ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). They serve as a PRO in there. In France, there is SACEM (Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique) and in the UK it is PRS (PRS for Music). Each nation has its different PROs.
For getting paid for your musical content, all you need just to register with a PRO. For making sure that you get paid all the PROs collaborate to collect the royalties on within their territory by coordination with other PROs around. With this chained system, you get paid if your musical content gets used in any way without paying you the royalty fee.
You don’t have to be very picky and give it a lot of thought over it. Just register your songs with a convenient PRO according to your preference and get your job done through them.
If you want to have a clear idea to get a PRO nearby you, then you can get to know about it from the internet. You will be able to find all the needed information just by searching on the web. Pretty much all PRO-related information is available there.
This is a great way to get your job done of earning money through licensing. Don’t just waste it away.
So these are some important steps of this important queries of how to license your music. You can consider doing all of these if you want to reach your full earning potential.
How to Approach People to Have New Licensing Opportunities
Unless you are very lucky, ending up having a license is not so easy if you are new in the industry. You gotta work very hard to create some good connections in the industry you belong to have it. But it will take some time, you can’t expect it to happen overnight.
So let me tell you an easier way for doing so, you can approach the music libraries and publishers. They will work a lot for letting your music to reach the concerned parties. The only problem of this way is that you will hardly have any control over your original music. You will be only creating and submitting songs to them here.
So if you want to do it by yourself then you have to have some extra tactics. This way you can decide with whom you want to work with and whom to avoid. And under which clause you should agree regarding licensing.
This way you will have to do a lot of research, work hard and stick to a single genre. Try out all medium to get the limelight and stay focused. You can open a YouTube channel and upload your content in there. Build a fanbase of yours and create a portfolio of music.
When a filmmaker or director approaches you, then you should try to give him your best shot. Keep repeating these steps and never stop hustling.
Doing so even if you are a one-man army, you can succeed in the long run. Then you won’t have to split your profit with anyone else.
Things to Avoid While Sharing Music
While creating connections and collaborating to license with others you may end up doing some mistakes. So these are some “don’ts” for you;
- Never add any attachment rather give a streaming link to your musical piece.
- Send high-quality audio tracks.
- In an email, you should write a precise subject line.
- Don’t spam others by constantly sending emails. Be consistent but not a spammer. There is always a fine line between these two.
- Send an instrumental version of your song as well.
- Be polite and very approachable in the language of your mail.
If you are an artist then you must have an in-depth idea about the sync licensing and how to license your music.
Having a clear idea about this will help you to reach your full earning potential as an independent music creator. It is a billion-dollar industry right now. So many musicians are having a lot of passive income from their old creations just by doing music licensing.
They are also getting more following base by getting sudden exposure to their earlier works. Whereas, these new fans were unaware of the song earlier.
So, this lets them have another way of increasing revenue from their other music gigs. In every possible way music licensing is no less than a blessing for the individual independent musicians.
So you must utilize this amazing opportunity as soon as you can to thrive in your musical journey.