This is part of a series of blogs in which I’m addressing the most frequently asked questions about music licensing. Last week we focused on basic terms and definitions you should know in order to get a baseline of understanding for what was to come in all subsequent posts. If you missed that post, or you need a refresher on those terms again, just click here.

In this post I’ll answer questions regarding the publishing aspects of getting your songs represented and pitched to film, t.v and multi-media.

How can I can get my songs into  film, t.v. and multi-media?

There are a number of ways to get your music in the hands of the music users. Here are a few:

1. PUBLISHERS

A publisher is a company that contracts to represent your music for many uses, one of which may be for film and t.v.

2. MUSIC LIBRARIES

A music library is a publisher, usually with a website that offers music to be licensed on behalf of a songwriter or composer. Music libraries can be big companies or small boutique ones.

3. PRODUCTION/STOCK MUSIC HOUSES

– music is exclusive
– some give advances to pay your music
– let you retain the writer’s share
– some pay for you to create
– good for people who write lots and lots of music

A production house is a company which provides mostly instrumental tracks for film, t.v and multi-media and usually offers a buyout arrangement. In a buyout, they pay you upfront and they  own the master (the actual recording) as well as the publishing share of the composition. You would collect the writer’s share from your PRO.

4. SYNC COMPANIES/REPS

These guys are similar to non-exclusives; their goals are the same, however they work with “real” artists and take a fairly hefty percentage of fees. They can be individuals representing certain catalogs or artists, or companies looking to find the next big thing via sync opportunities. These people are really great at what they do and provide the same services as a major publisher or label might, but only to music supervisors and producers (generally speaking). They typically only offer exclusive deals.

5. MUSIC SUBMISSION SITES  (TAXI, REVERBNATION, BROADJAM, MUSIC CLOUT, HITLICENSE

Music submission sites don’t re-title music or take any publishing. As a songwriter, you can subscribe to such services for a yearly fee and then pay a minimal fee to submit a song to placement opportunities in film and t.v. These companies take no percentage if your music gets placed. They make money through subscriptions and submission fees.  My personal favorite is TAXI because of the education and support they provide to the songwriter.

6. INTERNET MUSIC SITES

Internet music sites such as Audio Sparx provide music to video content creators. These creators often need music to accompany their videos and they look to these companies to supply them with readily usable and pre-cleared music. The content creator will purchase a license to use song(s) and/or instrumental tracks through an online shopping cart type of approach. These sites usually offer the songwriter a non-exclusive agreement and do not want to own the publishing. They only share in the revenue generated on their site from the licensing fees.

7. DIRECT

This means you are pitching songs yourself with no middle party involved. You deal directly with the music supervisors or the decision makers.


Stay tuned for more on THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MUSIC LICENSING Part 2: Publishing

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Want more tips on songwriting for film and t.v.? You can also purchase my e-book, How To Explode Your Income By Licensing Your Songs here.

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