How to Choose the Right Music Licensing Companies
It seems like so many songwriters and artists have given up on the dream of getting a record deal with major record label. Flying around on private jets and trashing hotel rooms is a dream now long forgotten. Film and TV placements are the new “record deal.”
Most musicians don’t know how to choose the right music licensing company or companies, because they haven’t done their homework yet. They haven’t learned how to know which company has the best chance of getting them a film or TV placement period, and they often have no idea which company has the best track record for making the most money for the songwriters ad artists they work with.
Truth be told, it’s not all that hard to set up a web page that looks great, add a database that hosts music, post up a couple of success stories (true or not), and bammo, you’re in business as a music licensing company! Doesn’t matter if you’re in the cow pastures of Wisconsin, the heart of Hollywood, or the plains of Africa. Nobody does due diligence any more. “If they’ve got a cool web page, they must be real!” Uh-huh!
Things to watch out for:
Open submissions — Not ALL companies that allow any old Tom, Dick or Harry to submit to them are schlock shops, but many are. Accepting music from any and everybody seems appealing at first, but it also means that the music supervisors and music editors are going to hear a lot of mediocre music (at best), and quickly leave the site with nothing in hand.
Rating and filtering by fans and competing musicians — Music supervisors want filtered music. They want only the very best music. In many cases (but not necessarily all), music that has been selected or filtered by competing songwriters or artists doesn’t stand up to the quality of music that has been pre-screened by real music industry professionals. Why? Two reasons: The musicians doing the filtering have never worked at a music supervision company, a film company, a TV production company, a record company, or a Film or TV publishing company. They simply don’t know how high the bar is set. They also may not know that just because they personally like a particular song or instrumental track, it doesn’t mean that it will work well for TV or film music companies.
The second reason is that some less than ethical people will “vote down” the competition. It’s become somewhat common for musicians who want their music to rise will ask fans, friends and family members to visit the music web sites that have “contests,” to give them high scores and give the competition low scores.
Companies that are too quick to accept music into their catalogs — There are companies who will sign almost anything. even though the deals are often non-exclusive, it can be a sign that the company is just trying to fatten the catalog or music library for a later sale, and is more interested in quantity, not quality.
Companies that don’t have solid, long-term relationships with the industry — Music supervisors have go-to people that they’ve worked with for years. They trust their ears. They know they can rely on them for great music. If you can’t find solid evidence that those relationships exists at te company you’re about to sign with, you might want to keep looking and find a company that does!
If you’d like to lean more about how to get started licensing your music through production music libraries and how to pick the right film & TV licensing companies for your music, watch this series of short videos I did with Matt Hirt. Matt is a long-time TAXI member, and through diligent work, persistence and getting his music picked up by the best music licensing companies (mostly through TAXI, if I can be so immodest) he’s created an income that any songwriter, artist or composer would be happy to have.
Watch the video. I promise you’ll learn just about everything you need to know about music licensing in a very short time.