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Licensing 101: How to Get Started & Start Making Money From Your Music



Licensing 101: How to Get Started & Start Making Money From Your Music

Licensing is a kind of golden ticket in the music industry. Done right, it can be an incredible opportunity for artists to not only get more exposure for their music, but also make real money out of it. And trust me when I say there is a song for every scene. If you think your music isn’t suitable for TV, movies, or video games, think again. There is a market for almost everything.

Okay, let’s say you’re sold. It’s about this life where your songs are played on TV and you make money. How do you start?

License 101: The Basics

If you really want to take a deep dive, we posted an article on this a few years ago, which is a great dive into everything you need to know about license syncing as a beginner songwriter – and it’s great information. I also want to dive.

But here are some basics. First, it matters if you’re a band or songwriter who specifically wants to write to license your music, rather than doing what you do and hoping someone will pick it up. Plus, you can do both. You can write your own material and still use some time and effort to synchronize the writing. If you do this and write specifically for syncing, you may also want to read this article where the CEO of Musiikkitalo explains what exactly they look for when they license songs. (Golden information, right ?!)

It is also a good idea to sign up with a PRO such as ASCAP, BMI or SESAC before setting out on this trip. Take the time to pick one because these people will help you get paid.


What to do before licensing music

There are a few things you need to do before getting a music license if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success. They are all detailed here, but in summary there are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure your metadata is in order. This is very important for licensing in many ways, so don’t forget that.

Make sure your music is copyrighted. Otherwise, you may lose the license agreement

Correct the metadata spreadsheet. Things can change quickly when it comes to licensing agreements, so it’s important to have a list of metadata on hand. This should include the title, genre, copyright information for each song, including the author’s name and the copyright registration number. Having everything in one place like this is a HUGE plus as things progress.

Include this information in your spreadsheet. A column that says “looks” and things like genre and instrumentation “IE sounds like Taylor Swift but with a horn section” will probably be memorable.

Get the contact list. You want to know who you delivered to – it’s just good cleaning.


Network, network, network

Yes, again. I know you just can’t do without it. With licensing, networking is as important as anywhere else and a vital part of your success. BUT, there is a big difference. While I would normally say that for this you need to build relationships within the music industry (and you should), I really want you to build relationships within the film industry.

You can do this by going to local film festivals to meet directors, editors and producers. Groups like the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP) are great, and then of course there’s your PRO we talked about.

Pay attention to seminars that take you to the same space with the most important decision makers. NAIP actually has an annual presentation session that brings together artists and directors to evaluate their work. What could be better ?!

Find inspiration from success stories

Inspiration and motivation to move forward are as important as anything else – believe it or not, these things will make a difference in the opportunities and contracts you get, if only because you have to stay motivated to do all of this. keep on !

So if you need real motivation, I want you to turn to the success stories we’ve featured here. Featuring Aaron and Andrew who had over 100 MTV placements in a Cheerios commercial. As they say, their first foray into licensing came when a friend who worked as a production assistant at CBS Guiding Light saw one of their songs on Facebook and why the show was looking for independent artists to license. , and the song worked brilliantly. it fits the scene perfectly.


That moment marked a turning point for the band and they realized this is how they could really make a living as musicians. From there, they followed a few key tactics (all detailed in the article) to further grow their careers, eventually reaching over 100 rankings.

YouTube video

Pretty amazing right?

Regardless of your motivation for getting a license agreement, the opportunity really awaits you. There’s a commercial, a TV scene, a movie moment, and your song is perfect for it. It’s just a matter of organizing and getting it to the right people.

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, whose artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more. After speaking at SXSW, the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference, CMW, Indie Week and more, she still loves nothing more than Cookie Monster ice cream, cuddling with her pup Sawyer and a great show to watch. Join her free masterclass “How to Get the Next 1,000 Fans. 3 Simple Steps to Increase Engagement, Sold Out Shows and Life-Changing Opportunities”.

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