Last week, I shared with you music licensing companies that are good places to start sending tracks when you’re a music producer.
You got a glimpse of how I chose these libraries.
Today, I’m going to go into more detail and share with you the EXACT questions I use to vet music licensing companies before I sign anything.
Whether you’re building a career in the shadows as a music producer or take center stage as a performing artist, these are good questions that will help you make the right choices for YOU.
The following assumes I’ve just stumbled on the company online and know nothing about it.
1. Do I like their website?
Is it user-friendly?
This matters because if you don’t like their website and/or find it hard to navigate, there’s a good chance content creators will feel the same way.
That means the library might struggle to get good sales conversions on their website.
And that means the library might struggle to close a sale for your music.
2. What does their catalogue sound like?
Is it top quality production wise?
Would I be happy for my music to be associated with the rest of the catalogue?
Is there an opportunity for my music?
This is very subjective but I try to find that sweet spot where there’s room for my genre of music but it’s not over represented yet.
Let’s take AudioJungle as an example.
At the time of writing, this is what their catalogue looks like:
Corporate and cinematic music are obviously a big part of AudioJungle’s catalogue.
Now let’s have a closer look at their Corporate music catalogue:
This breakdown might mean there’s not much demand for Tech and News….
Or it could mean there’s an opportunity 😉
3. Do they value my time, art and craft?
Do they value their catalogue?
How much is a license for a podcast or YouTube video?
What does their price structure for other opportunities on TV and film look like?
Basically, if they license one of my tracks, will they get a good price for it?
Note that what you consider a good price is very personal. It depends on what kind of brand you’re trying to build. It also depends on how much you think is realistic and/or you can afford to pass on.
Are composers getting their fair share?
What’s the split between composer and library?
50/50 is pretty standard but it can vary a little both ways.
Note that this information is not always available on the website. Sometimes you have to wait until they’re interested in signing your tracks to get a little bit more detail.
4. How much traffic does their website get?
I like to look at music licensing companies’ estimated monthly traffic because it gives me an idea of how many potential customers they attract each month.
Lots of traffic = lots of potential eyes (ears?!) on my music.
A cool free tool to get a feel for a website’s traffic is Similar Web. It’s a Google Chrome extension that’s super easy to install and use…. if you’re using Google Chrome. Duh!
If you’re not a fan of Chrome, there are other tools that you can use but the quality ones I know of are paid subscription services.
5. Do the artists on there enjoy working with them?
When it’s a big stock music library, I’ll usually just check the MusicLibraryReport.
For smaller boutique music publishers or music licensing companies that request exclusivity, I like to dig deeper and get in touch with some of the artists featured in their catalogue.
This is because:
(a) I don’t want to waste time uploading music to a music library that makes no placements
(b) I will not contemplate signing an exclusive deal with a music licensing company that doesn’t have a decent RECENT track record
So I’ll ask composers if they enjoy working with the library, how long they’ve been with them, if they’re getting placements and if they’re getting paid?
6. Are customers happy with them?
Happy customers doesn’t mean the library is right for me.
After all, they might be happy because they got great music dirt cheap!
Unhappy customers, however, are a sure sign that the library is NOT right for me.
It suggests the company is going in the wrong direction and might not be around for much longer.
Considering how long it takes to upload music and set up 5-10 tracks in a new library, I’d rather my hard work didn’t go down the drain a few months down the line!
7. IF this licensing company NEVER placed any of my tracks, would I be cool with that?
If you’re going to ask yourself just ONE question about a deal, this is the one.
Before I get into a deal, I prepare myself for the worst-case scenario, i.e. no sales.
That’s why I favor non-exclusive deals….
If a non-exclusive library doesn’t make a sale for me, I usually don’t care that much because I’ll have that track with a dozen other music licensing companies that can make a sale.
But if an exclusive library doesn’t make a sale for me, I could be in real trouble!
Especially if it’s a long deal….
That’s why, if I’m looking at an exclusive deal, the term of the agreement is my #1 concern.
I have yet to see an exclusive music library offer to pay me an advance.
Since that’s not happening, I’m taking a big risk if the library fails to deliver any paid placements.
So I make sure the term of the deal isn’t too long.
I understand that some music licensing companies want exclusivity. It’s a great selling point for their prospective customers.
However, I also need to protect myself and my assets, i.e. my music tracks.
So we need to find a middle ground that works for all parties involved….
JinglePunks’ one year exclusive deal is a deal that I can live with.
With the 0 sales scenario in mind, I also check for other restrictions that may be listed in the contract and be an issue down the line.
Ideally, you want to be 100% free to do what you want with your tracks in case the library doesn’t come through for you.
That’s why I don’t have all my tracks with AudioSparx.
They’re a music licensing company I like because they seem to value their catalogue and do a great job giving me information about the kind of music they need BUT….
AudioSparx’ vendor agreement has sooooo many restrictions I just don’t want to put all my eggs in their basket.
For example, once your track is placed in their catalogue:
- You can’t take it down.
- It can’t be part of the Youtube Content ID system.
- You’re not allowed to place it in a number of other non-exclusive music libraries listed on the AudioSparx website.
I understand why AudioSparx has these restrictions in place but, with the 0 sales scenario in mind, I simply can’t afford to place all of my tracks with them.
I prefer to keep some of my tracks available to experiment with the Youtube Content ID system and some of the libraries on their no-no list.
So there you have it!
7 questions to help you choose the best music licensing companies to advance your music career and grow your sync licensing income.
Are there other criteria YOU use to evaluate music licensing companies?
Let me know in the comments below!