Many musicians have been successful at making a living from their music by performing, producing music for local artists and studio session work, however; they continue to hit a brick wall. So how does a songwriter, producer, singer, hip hop artist or band find alternate ways to make money from their original music? License your music for TV and film. At the same time, expose your music to the masses.
Why License your Music?
TV and film companies are always open to using quality independent music. Depending on the company’s music budget, some companies prefer independent music as opposed to major label music. Think about it. If a film company can find a song that works in a particular scene at a reasonably low fee, why not?
What is Music Licensing?
How many times have you heard music from unknown artists, bands, hip hop artists and instrumental music makers on shows like “Entourage”, “Weeds”, “True Blood” or “Single Ladies”? Think about all the reality shows that have music playing in the background. These unknown musicians create their own original music and license it to these shows. When a musician submits their music to be used in television or film, and it’s accepted, these companies pay the musician a licensing fee (sort of like a financial permission) to use the music in a particular film or television program. When the television program airs, the musician receives a performance royalty through a performance rights organization such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. I know you’re asking, “How am I supposed to get my music to these people in television and film?” Glad you asked.
I suggest you start out with research. Researching can be as simple as listening for the types of music being licensed. This should let you know if the type of music you produce fits a particular television program or film project. If you produce Hip Hop instrumental beats, it wouldn’t make sense to submit your music to a television program that has a history of using Country music. You can also find information on the people who have working relationships with the television and film companies, by reading the credits on a particular television program or film. If you’re fast enough, I suggest jotting the information down and looking them up on the internet.
Performance Rights Organizations or PROs
Before you start submitting your music to be licensed in television or film, make sure that you join one of the 3 performance rights organizations or PROs: ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. PROs act as a middle man to collect royalties from entities who wish to use your songs publically. If you want to receive royalties from your music, I urge you to join one of these organizations.
How Much Money Can Be Made?
The amount of money you can make from licensing your music in TV or film can vary. Some have received as little as $300.00 for one song that was used briefly in a TV show. Others have received as much as $5,000.00 for a song that was used as a prominent part of a show. These fees I’m referring to are considered a licensing fee. This is upfront money that is paid to the owner or songwriter of the song.
Royalties for Music in Film
In addition to receiving a licensing fee, you can receive a royalty check, every time the network broadcasts the TV show that includes your song. This is different with film. You can receive a licensing fee, however; royalties do not apply when it comes to film. Royalties only apply with film if your song is included on a soundtrack CD or if the film is broadcasted on TV.
Information That Will Help Increase Your Chances With Music Licensing
I came across one of the greatest programs for artists, bands, hip hop artists and instrumental music. With this program, you can learn how to make money and get exposure for your music by licensing your songs in TV, Films, Video Games and Advertising from Berklee alumnus Aaron Davison. This program, “The A To Z Of Music Licensing” is great for frustrated musicians, bands, hip hop artists and songwriters. Learn how to make music a full-time job. With this program, he provides a TV/Film Music Business Directory, a Music Publisher Directory, Sample Licensing Contracts, A Songwriter’s Guide To Music Licensing Ebook and more. I receive royalty checks, each quarter, following Aaron’s program. You can too.
To learn more about the A To Z’s of Music Licensing, just click or copy and paste the following website information into your browser: http://www.howtolicenseyourmusic.com/programolcb.php?hop=tavaent