I spend a lot of time answering emails. Feel like sharing my answers with a larger audience would be a good use of my time.

Do you agree?

Let me know in the comments.


Adam Asked

Hey Joyce,

How have you been? I had a quick music licensing question that I thought you might be able to answer.

I have been in touch with a local filmmaker named Hillia Aho. I saw an article about her in the newspaper that said she was from my town (Waldoboro, Maine) and that she was making films and attending a prestigious school (NYU-Tisch).

I e-mailed her and asked her if she would like to use my music in any of her films. She said she might but she didn’t know what her budget would be.

The question I had was this – do you think it would be smart on my part to offer my music for free to her as she wants to use?

I was thinking that I might get some placement and exposure and maybe some royalties down the line. Or do you think it would be better to charge her? And if so how much?

Hope you are well. Thanks and look forward to talking with you again soon.



I answered

Hey Adam,

It’s your call really but I’m not a huge fan of working for free unless everyone else on the project is working for free.

Re pricing, here’s a post I wrote to help indie musicians know what to charge.

Does that help?


Reading this again, I’m thinking I answered Adam a bit too quickly…..




1- Congrats

I should have congratulated him on reaching out to the filmmaker.

It’s definitely the right idea and something I encourage everyone to do.

Especially how he did it: reading an article in the newspaper and using the info in there (same town) as an intro.

So yeah…. belated congrats Adam! Keep up the good work! ??


2- Token Charge > (Often Empty) Promise of Exposure

I’m still not a fan of working for free but I should have made it clear that I’m fine with charging a symbolic amount.

When the situation calls for it.

In this case, it’s Adam reaching out and he’s reaching out to someone who’s still in school so the budget claim makes sense.

I’d still try to find out what others are getting paid….

But I might charge only a small, symbolic amount if the project was interesting and I felt everyone pulling in the same direction.


Have a question for me or know someone who might?

Let me know in the comments 🙂