Have you been hearing a lot about music licensing without really knowing what it means or how to do it?
Would you like to understand how you can get your music working for you while you sleep?
You’re in the right place!
I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to get your music licensed.
It’s not complicated. It’s not hard.
7 days is all you need to get started.
I can guarantee if you put the work in for the next 7 days, say 1 hour a day, you’ll start seeing results within the next 30!
You’ll get all the information you need with no boring stuff and legal talk to scramble your mind.
Before we get started, I want to make sure you have at least 3 tracks (songs and/or instrumentals) recorded and exported as mp3 files.
Option 1 – You don’t have 3 tracks ready to go…. stop reading this and go make some music!
Option 2 – You do have 3+ recorded tracks…. read on!
Here’s your challenge.
I’m counting on you working on this for ONE HOUR EVERY DAY FOR SEVEN DAYS.
Step 1: Get Your Tracks Ready
(Day 1 & 2)
To start with, sit down and pick between 3 and 10 tunes you’re going to be focusing on for the next 7 days.
These could be songs and/or instrumentals. It doesn’t matter as long as the production quality is good (friendly reminder: good does not mean perfect).
If you’re not sure about production quality, move forward anyway. You’ll find out soon enough 😉
Here’s what I want you to do for each of those tunes:
- Export an 320kpbs version of the tune;
- Export a WAV version of the tune (24bit; 48kHz if possible, that’ll have you covered for most of the libraries);
- Input the correct metadata (including song title, artist name, album name if applicable, year, genre, contact details in comments section with email address, phone number and website if applicable); and
- Create a spreadsheet where you write down the following information (song name, description, keywords for mood & genre, similar artists’ names). This is not exciting work but it is a REALLY important step. I do not recommend skipping it. The reasons why will become very clear once you start submitting to a lot of music libraries and each one asks you for the same type of information over and over again. Copy/Paste really comes to the rescue then 😉 It could look something like this:
Now this is all you need to do for day 1 and 2.
A quick note if your monkey mind is getting all worked up and starting to make up a host of weird reasons to give up now.
Try to keep these few things in mind:
1- don’t let the production quality of your tracks stop you (within reason of course: don’t go sending obviously flawed mixes). What I mean is don’t procrastinate with the excuse of being a perfectionist 😉 If you’re not sure, send them anyway.
2- don’t worry if you don’t have a professional looking email address. A gmail address has never stopped anyone from doing business!
3- NO, your music doesn’t need to be on Spotify, Pandora, etc. to be considered for music licensing opportunities.
Basically stop making excuses and working under silly assumptions like you need a website, a strong social media presence, an album, a big catalogue, an agent, a professional mastering engineer, etc.
You don’t need ANY of those things. They might help but you don’t need them.
Focus on the music and you’ll be fine. All the rest is mostly fluff when it comes to music licensing.
Ok, onto step 2
Step 2: Register your songs with a Performance Rights Organization.
Make sure the tunes you selected are registered with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO).
If you already know what a PRO is and have already registered your songs with yours, move on to day 4 now or take the day off 😉
PROs are the organizations that ensure that you get paid royalties when one of your tunes is performed on radio, TV, etc.
In the US, that could be ASCAP or BMI. In the UK it’s PRS. SACEM is the one in France.
You only need to register with one. For example, I registered with PRS when I was living in London. Now I’m back in Paris and it’s fine: PROs around the world collaborate with each other to collect royalties in their territory and coordinate with other PROs to get the composers paid.
There’s no need to be fancy about it. Just register with the PRO of your choice.
Check out this list of PROs to find out the options in your part of the world.
Now I can hear some of you getting ready to scream WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT?!!!!
Well, here’s my take on copyright: you don’t need it right now.
NO YOU DON’T!
SERIOUSLY! Get over yourself!
With the scores and scores of music being uploaded on Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc. every single day, what do you think the chances are of YOUR music being exactly what a horrible little thief person needs right about now?!
Second question: what if you registered your song copyright and someone stole it from you and made money with it… what are the chances that they would make bucket loads of cash with it?!
Third question: if they did make bucket loads of cash with it… could you afford to spend years in court (making advance payments to lawyers)?
Now, of course, it’s your call and it’s your responsibility. I’m just spouting of my opinion here. I’ve decided that, for my music, copyrighting is not worth my time and money. I may live to regret it.
By all means, get every single one of your songs copyrighted if you like. I actually wrote a post and recorded a video walkthrough to show you exactly how to copyright music in a fast, affordable and efficient way.
Just make sure you’re not using this step as an excuse not to move forward, like an entrepreneur who registers an LLC before having a product to sell.
Anyway, now you have 3-10 tunes ready to go, you’re registered with a PRO and you’ve registered the 3-10 tunes with that PRO.
Let’s move on to step 3.
Step 3: Research music libraries
Here’s a list of 7 music libraries.
You can find more on Google. Just be imaginative and search for “stock music”, “production music”, “music library”, etc.
Take a couple of hours to visit their website and do your research. That means:
– analyzing the music they already have and asking yourself if your music is an obvious fit or if there’s a gap in their catalogue you might be able to fill.
– finding out how to submit music to them (you’ll usually find the information on the FAQ or contact pages)
– finding out if they sign tracks on exclusive or non-exclusive deals. If it’s obvious from their website that they’ll want exclusivity of the songs they accept, I would skip it. Unless you’re already experienced in music licensing and know the risks and rewards of exclusive deals.
While you’re doing your research, there are a couple of things I want you do to:
1- Write down on a piece of paper the name of the music libraries that you want to send your music to; and
2- Create a “Music libraries” folder in your browser’s favorites and add the submissions/FAQ page of every library you’ve selected.
I’ve deliberately only included libraries that offer non-exclusive deals.
If you’re just starting out with music licensing, I suggest you stick with non-exclusive deals.
When you sign a song to an exclusive deal, the library you sign the deal with is the only one authorized to license that song. That means if they forget about you or don’t care (which can definitely happen!), you won’t be making any licensing money from that song.
There may come a time when you’re more familiar with the licensing ecosystem when you might want to research and test out exclusive deals but for now, I highly recommend forgetting about them.
If you’re afraid of compromising your artist “brand” by going non-exclusive (which is sometimes frowned upon in the industry, usually by the more wealthy among us ), use a pseudonym!
Now let’s get SERIOUS!!! Step 4!!
Step 4: Submit, submit, submit!
Just do it!
SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC!
When you submit music to a library, don’t forget to follow the submission guidelines detailed on their website. They took the time to write them, you should take the time to read and stick by them 😛
That means if they ask for a minimum of 4 tracks and you only have 3, wait until you have another tune to offer. If they ask for streaming links of individual tracks, don’t send them attachments or links to a playlist.
I know, I know, that’s just common sense. And yet, scores of musicians don’t put in the time or effort to actually follow the simple guidelines of music libraries. Don’t be that person.