Your music has been accepted by a music library… Great, congratulations! You’ve arrived!

Well, almost…

It’s actually only the beginning 😉

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s not rare for a music library to have thousands of tunes on offer.

Step 1 was getting in there. You’ve done that. Good job!

Step 2 is making sure your music appears in the search results of the music library so potential customers can find you…


!!! WARNING !!!

This post is about step 2. It’s most DEFINITELY not the most fun you’ll have with your music BUT if you’re aiming to make a living through music licensing, you need to bite the bullet and take this seriously…


So…. How do you get your music to the top of the search results?


When a potential client is browsing a music library, you want to make sure your music appears at the top of the search results page. For that to happen, you basically need to…


Keyword the crap out of your tune!!


The logic is simple: the more pertinent keywords you will have attached to your tune, the more chances it will appear at the top of the search results.

Think about QUANTITY (come up with at least 20 keywords per track) and…. 

QUALITY (these keywords need to be precise, not vague).


Checklist Time

To make sure I cover all my basics and more, I use a checklist when tagging my tunes.

Here’s how it works: I listen to one of my tunes on repeat and go through the checklist below:

  • write down all the moods that the music evokes (having a list of moods printed out helps)
  • write down a couple of artists that come to mind when listening to the tune
  • take 5-10 minutes to explore “related artists” on Spotify, Google Play or other to determine if there are other artists you can flag as “Sound likes…”
  • write down the genre of TV show or movie the tune would be a good fit for (having a list of film genres printed out helps)
  • take 5-10 minutes to identify a few artists/composers who have placed music in these type of TV shows/films and add them to your list of “Sounds like”
  • play crystal ball and try to imagine what a music supervisor might type in the search engine
  • take 5-10 minutes to review all the keywords you’ve come up with and see if you can come up with other words that more or less evoke the same thing but are more precise (e.g. “sad” develops into “breakup”, “tears”, “divorce”)


Pro tip: if you can identify keywords that others won’t think of but a music supervisor is likely to search from time to time, you’ll be golden!


Example Time

Ok, let’s do this! 

I’m taking my tune, “Sunny Cloud”….

And going through the entire process right before your little eyes  😆


!!! WARNING !!!

The full walkthrough takes close to 60 minutes.

If you don’t have time for this…

pick and choose the videos that address the steps you’re unsure of


skip ahead to the quick recap…


Step 1: What moods does the music evoke? (15 min)


Step 2: Does the music sound like any other artist? (6 min)


Step 3: Where can you “see” this music? On which TV show(s) and/or movie(s) would the music work well? (8 min)


Step 4: Are there film/TV music composers that write similar music? (8 min)


Step 5: Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer…. imagine which words you’d have to type into the search bar to be super happy with this tune coming up first. (4 min)


Step 6: Go through all of your keywords and try to find new, more specific, ones. (10 min)



Quick recap

– keywords need to be relevant (no spam) BUT

– they don’t have to be perfect (don’t overthink it, go with your gut).

In fact, they CANNOT be perfect because….

– keywords are subject to personal sensitivities (you could ask for input from friends, family and other musicians to find more relevant keywords)


This takes aaages! Is it really worth it?

So this exercise DOES take a while. It took me close to one hour to come up with all the keywords for “Sunny Clouds”!

I’m telling you though….

it’s an absolute game-changer!


Simply because not many musicians actually bother to do this properly.

If you take the time to find 20+ quality keywords to describe each of your tunes, I guarantee your ranking in music libraries’ results page will improve.


More Input = More Ideas = Better Ranking


Next steps?

Ok, now you have a blueprint you can use to tag your own music but, truth is, it’s sometime super difficult to come up with keywords for the music you made.

For some mysterious and weird reason, we often get stuck on keywords for our own tracks while we have no problem with coming up with genius suggestions for others!

AGHHH! How annoying!

There is a very simple solution to this quirk of our musical minds, however: ask for input from others!

Here’s what I want you to do:

1.Print out your SEO for music licensing checklist;

2.Schedule one hour this week to go through the entire process with one of your tracks;

3.Schedule another hour to set up this track in Audiosparx, Songtradr or another music library you’re involved with.


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