This is part 7 of a 7-part series of posts dealing with music licensing. This week we cover RESEARCH.

If you’re brand new to music licensing I recommend that you start from the beginning of these posts below and work your way through them. That way you’ll get a good baseline understanding of what’s involved. There’s a lot!

My last several posts have covered:

1. Basic Terms and Definitions
2. Publishing: Types of Deals, Part A
3. Publishing: Types of Deals, Part B
4. Clearances
5. Administration, Part A
6. Administration, Part B
7. Royalties, Part A
8. Royalties, Part B
9. Royalties, Part C
10. Creative, Part A

So, here you are. Now you’re ready to hit the ground running with getting your music licensed, right? And now the questions come:

Who are some of the best film and t.v. music publishers and libraries out there?

The best music publishers and libraries are the ones that are getting you well-paying placements and are professional and easy to work with. Most can be categorized into A, B or C, depending on the types of syncs they get and the amount of money that you get and whether or not it involves upfront money or just backend. Some companies are very large and some can be very “boutique”. (If you’re hearing crickets at this point, please read my posts from the beginning).
Ask some people who have gotten placements who make similar music to yours.

How do I go about contacting these music libraries/ publishers and how do I know what they’re looking for?

This is where doing some homework will pay off . Get to know the company and what they’re getting placed by listening to the music they have on their site and to the music that has been placed by them. If they have a website they will post their placements on it.
Listen for the kinds of music they are signing and/or specializing IN. And, here’s an alternative strategy to consider. It might be smart to research what they DONT HAVE in their catalog and write music to fill in the gaps.

Some publishers have online portals where you can submit your music. Others prefer to get requests by email or direct calls where you can then link to songs through Dropbox or Some like to receive material through music services like Still others want to receive CDs (yes, still). All have a specific way they would like to receive music so ask by which method they prefer. So don’t just send mp3s or wavs and clog up their inboxes; do your homework first.

I’m going to pitch my own music directly to music supervisors. How do I know what music supervisors are looking for at any given time?

If you pitch directly then there are a few resources you can use to help educate you on what their needs have been or might be:

Find out as much as you can about your “customer” and make it all about developing a relationship. One caveat: pitching directly is a long game and is extremely time consuming, so be prepared to wait it out and build those relationships solidly and slowly. If you feel like you don’t have time to make the music and pitch the music, then it’s probably best to get your songs to music providers so you can concentrate on just making the music.


In my next post I’ll cover more questions about research and pitching. In the meantime, if you have your own questions, leave a comment below.

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



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