This post is for you if you want to license your music and have asked yourself:
- Where should I send my music?
- What are the best production music libraries for [hip-hop, folk/ singer-songwriter/ ambient music/ electronic music/ fill in the blank]?
- How can I find royalty-free libraries that are a good fit for my music?
I’m going to answer ALL of these questions for you and tell you exactly WHERE to submit your music.
But let’s keep it simple.
There are THREE steps I want you to focus on.
#1 – Submit music to Audiosparx
I recommend this to everyone who is starting out in the music licensing business. Why?
Because Audiosparx requires a LOT of boring information that musicians often overlook but MUST be able to provide before they can expect to make any decent amount of money through production music libraries.
They ask you for your PRO-assigned IPI (or CAE) number
This forces you to set up your composer account with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO).
If you’re serious about making money making music, this is the number one admin formality you should take care of!
PROs are the ones that pay your royalties.
They ask you to select 30+ keywords for each track you upload in their catalogue.
This forces you to take the time to think about where your track would be a good fit.
That, in turn, ensures that your song is not just another song sitting in a large catalogue, ready to be fully ignored by all potential customers.
They ask you write a strong track description.
This forces you to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and to write a compelling track description that will grab their attention.
So yes, the Audiosparx process requires you to invest quite a bit of time upfront BUT it will give you a BIG competitive advantage when you send music to other music licensing opportunities in the future.
1. It will set you apart from the crowd when you upload your music catalogue on other production music libraries. Most composers don’t take the time to set-up more than 10 fairly generic keywords.
2. You will be a more attractive proposition when you reach out to music supervisors accepting music submissions. By taking the time to define clearly where your track will fit, you’re demonstrating how professional you are and making their life easier.
#2 Submit to big music libraries with a broad catalogue
One question I often get goes along the likes of: I write hip-hop music, can you tell me where to submit my tunes?
Sometimes it’s hip-hop, sometimes it’s folk music, sometimes it’s ambient music. You get the idea 😉
Whatever the genre of music, the short answer is:
STOP worrying about where’s the “best” place to send your music and
START actually submitting music!
That’s the only way you’ll learn what’s the best place for YOU!
I can’t tell you exactly where you should submit your tunes.
With a bit of research and a LOT more information about you and your projects, I could find out which production music libraries might be a good fit for your music.
But, right off the top of my head and with only a music genre to go on, most of the time I won’t have an answer for you.
1. Hip-hop is a pretty broad term, what kind of music are you actually making? Does it fit into a sub-genre? Is there a name for it? Is there an artist you obviously sound like?
2. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you entirely focused on music licensing or are you also trying to build your brand as a performing musician?
3. Where are you at in your music production career? Are you just beginning? Do you already have a huge brand? Do you have a small or large catalogue of music to choose from? Does your music sound a bit cheap or like something you’d hear on the radio?
The point is I would need to find out so much more about you, your ambitions and your music before I can point you in any specific direction…..
So again, I’ll repeat it one more time….
STOP worrying about where’s the “best” place to send your music and….
START actually submitting music!
Unless you want to hire me to get one-on-one coaching, that’s the best advice I can give you!
There are MANY, MANY stock music libraries that are generalists and would be happy to take on your music. Stop worrying and start learning!
You’ll hit and miss and that’s absolutely fine! 🙂
Having said that, when you’re just starting out with music licensing, I recommend a couple of things so you can experiment freely and stay out of trouble:
- Submit using a pseudonym.
This means even if you make a “mistake” and sign some of your music to a really crappy library, you don’t damage your current or future brand.
- Sign non-exclusive deals.
This means even if a library doesn’t sell your music to anyone, you’re not stuck. You can have the same tracks with other, more profitable, production music libraries. This is especially important if you have a small catalogue of music.
Ok, ok, enough about the theory!
I know you want some actual leads.
Ideally, I’d give you a list of the top music licensing companies out there and you’d submit to every single one of them and make money overnight.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing. The truth is that no two people would agree on what the best production music libraries are.
What I’ll do instead is mention 4 stock music libraries that I’ve enjoyed working with:
On top of these 4, I’d recommend opening a free account with Songtradr.
This will give you 35 credits every month to submit your music to specific licensing opportunities curated by Songtradr.
Stick with the free plan and practise pitching to music supervisors accepting submissions.
This will force you to think about which projects would be a good match for your music.
Little by little, you’ll get a better idea of who you should get in touch with and where you should pitch your music for better results.
Once you have that experience, it will be MUCH easier to successfully…
#3 Pitch music to niche licensing companies
Ok so you’ve submitted music to Audiosparx and got all your track descriptions and keywords up your sleeve.
You’ve submitted tracks to production music libraries and have a few tunes working for you in the background.
You’re starting to understand what these music licensing companies are looking for and how you can cater to their needs.
Now you can start focusing your attention on finding THE perfect music licensing company for your catalogue.
As I’ve mentioned above, for me to make specific recommendations that will work for YOU, I’d need to know a lot more about your music than just a genre. I’d have to talk with you and find out what your goals are.
That’s one-on-one coaching stuff and I can’t address all of that in one post.
What I CAN do is give you a super simple step-by-step process to help you find that out for yourself 😉
Are you ready?
Ok, here goes the magic formula….
royalty-free + [music sub-genre] + instrumentals
You can even riff on it and give these arrangements a try:
royalty-free + [music sub-genre] + downloads
[music sub-genre] + stock music
[music sub-genre] + licensing music
[music sub-genre] + music library
[music sub-genre] + production music
[music sub-genre] + backing tracks
So, let’s say you write instrumental trap music and type in “royalty-free trap instrumentals”….
What would you find out?
|Well…. It looks like PremiumBeat might be interested.
It might also be worth getting in touch with Allrounda Beats. Their FAQ suggests they could be interested in adding tunes to their catalogue and they’ve done a great job getting to the top of Google search.
Pond5 is another royalty-free library that ranks high in Google for that particular search.
A couple of alternative ways you could find out about where to find music licensing opportunities for your niche:
1.Get in touch with the record label of an artist you sound like and ask them if they handle licensing requests themselves or use a music placement agency.
2.Research generalist libraries and identify gaps in their catalogues.
Audiosparx are kind enough to give you all the info in one place (“MyAccount” → “Reports”):
But most libraries don’t openly tell you what they need.
That’s when it can help to go the extra mile and browse their catalogue by category.
Let’s take Audio Jungle as an example:
What I see here is that they already have a lot of choice for ambient music BUT perhaps there is an opportunity for the new-age sub-genre.
They have plenty of hip-hop but could probably use some soul, R&B type of tracks.
Even funk seems a bit under-represented when you think of how often it’s used in advertising.
Note that it’s worth digging a bit deeper.
Without clicking on “Ambient”, we’d never see that Audio Jungle might be a little light on New Age music. Same goes with “Electronica”…
22,531 tracks to compete with?! No way!!!!
What if I pitched some techno music?
Would it make sense to add “IDM” or “Glitch” to my keywords for a couple of tunes?
So there you have it, three steps to stock music library success 🙂
All you have to do now is download the checklist for this post and get to work!
If you’d like a bit more support and day-by-day guidance, you can check out my 30 day music licensing challenge.