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How to Make More Money Licensing Your Songs in 2020



How to Make More Money Licensing Your Songs in 2020

In 2012 we saw the band comfortably. rising from relative obscurity to the top of the charts, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and getting their numbers on nearly every radio station with skyrocketing sales. In 2013, American Authors went from a strong fledgling following to great commercial success.

So where does this seemingly magical nocturnal success factor come from? License, of course.

The Fun song “We Are Young” was released during Superbowl XLVI. later in the acclaimed Chevrolet ad. joy. left almost immediately. They’ve aired on countless radio stations, featured on an episode of Glee, won a Grammy, been recorded with P! Nk, and released a few more singles with even greater success.

As for American writers, the appearance of “Best Day of My Life” in a Hyundai TV commercial in the UK led to multiple placements in multiple commercials, as well as movies, video games and even the ESPN opening of the World Series 2013. on poker .. It was an instant hit and even won the Sync Music Award at the SESAC Pop Awards in 2015. In other words, it made them a huge success and set the stage for everything that followed.

So how did these bands go from underground sensations to Grammy winners? What was their secret?


It would be easy to say that it was all about licensing, and that’s largely true. But there is much more behind it. Good reason. And American writers are prime examples because, as they gained popularity in the mass media, they had built a loyal following and reputation through hard work, strategic networking, and interaction with fans and industry. For example, long before their songs received licensing deals, their singles had already started making the rounds and were invited to play at Sunset Sessions, an annual conference where select groups are invited to perform for record label managers. And music presenters. It would be useless for you to pretend these things didn’t help.

So why do we complain about this? Because this could be you! There is nothing stopping you from licensing your music and earning large royalties and achieving commercial success. The need for music in movies, games and commercials is huge! Think about it:

    • What music was played during a commercial or film scene? License.
    • Music in the background of a video game or app? License.
    • Music played on the radio during a certain scene in a movie can also be very profitable, as can licensing.
    • The first step is to understand how profitable it can be to obtain a music license. Therefore, some tips for preparation.

Join PRO

If you haven’t already registered with an Executive Rights Organization (PRO) such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, this is the first thing you will want to do. Like now, do it!

In addition to assisting with licensing, PROs help ensure artists are paid for all kinds of “performances”. That’s why they are the people you can turn to once your work is licensed, because they will be in control of the syncing process for you. (Because you don’t have to worry about anything else, right?)

Finding a PRO is a process within a process and they all have their pros and cons, but whatever you choose, your partner will track royalties and licenses as your work begins to take off.

If you’re not sure which PRO to choose, attend one of their meetings or seminars throughout the year. It’s a good way to reach decision makers and ask all your questions.


Decide who you are writing to

I’m not saying you should change your writing style just to get licensing deals, but if you’re really looking for a career where your songs are played on TV, movies, video games, and commercials, you should at least be aware of the music you make. And how it fits into those categories

Extra tip: create an instrumental version of your most popular songs. Sometimes you are told that your sound is great but the lyrics don’t work. If you have an instrumental version that they can use as is or add narration, you will increase your chances of having your song selected.

Build those relationships

You really can’t escape this, right? Whatever you do in this area, you must build, nurture and strengthen your relationships. The license is no different.

While networking in the music industry is always a good idea, this time we’re going to focus a bit on networking in the movie industry. So how do you do it? First, visit local film festivals and meet directors, editors, and producers. Join professional groups like the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP) and of course PRO. These groups occasionally offer seminars that bring you face-to-face with key decision-makers in the film industry. NAIP actually has an annual showcase that brings together artists and directors to evaluate their work.

Other places for B2B marketing (business-to-business, why not forget, this is the music business) are LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Instagram. These social media channels can provide access to groups and influencers that you can target directly.


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Update your marketing

If you want to be treated like a professional, you also have to act like a professional. This means you know who to turn to, how to do it, what to include and what not to include. (For example, don’t add your paragraph directly to an email – nobody likes that!)

Music facilitators, app developers and producers always strive to use clear, concise and organized sounds and EPKs. Provide a place on your site or an embed in the EPK that allows music managers to quickly browse your catalog. It can also make sense to create a microsite or a new EPK just for your work that you want to try out and get a license for.

Another big part of your marketing that gets overlooked is metadata. When submitting MP3 files to license managers, make sure your songs contain clear metadata fields such as genre, year, publisher, and artist. It makes life a lot easier for managers by helping them stay organized.

Consider partnering with a company

If you just don’t have the energy to go it alone, or if you’re looking for someone with a higher level of skills, it might make sense to just hire a company.


A music licensing company maintains a catalog of dozens (or hundreds) of artists and presents your music to executives on your behalf. While this certainly makes your life easier, the company usually gets a percentage (depending on the type of contract).

So just like any PR agency or manager, if you can market your work yourself, by all means do it. It is a great skill and you will learn a lot. However, if you can afford it, this may be the easiest option.

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have featured on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream and more, and the founder and CEO of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. He likes to bake things. , a good book and being with her dog Sawyer. Want more tips?

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