File Under: Getting Licensed and Generating Royalties, Making Money With Music

Getting your music licensed for use in TV, advertising, films and movie trailers is a great way to turn up the income if you can achieve it. To do this, you should understand the mindset and goals of Music Supervisors, the people who choose the music for TV and film. While we discussed this in detail in our EM feature article Master Class: Get Placed, Get Paid, today we want to talk about how to prepare your music to make it as easy as possible for them and increase your chances of earning license income.

Follow these steps to improve your chances of getting your music licensed and placed:

1. Clear the rights of the underlying music.

Music Supervisors only want to deal with those who own all the copyrights in their music. They want to sign an agreement and avoid any legal questions of who owns what. This means that even if your music is the perfect piece for the TV show, ad, film, or trailer, they will skip it and go with their "Plan B" song if there's any hint of copyright issues. So, make sure you own or have cleared all the rights and can prove it. That means if you use loops or samples, you've got permission or they're royalty-free. And, if you're in band, make sure to cover all the intellectual property you create within your band agreement. You also should never use cover songs for licensing unless they specifically request one from you -- you don't own the rights to those.

2. Make it clear that you own 200% of the rights.

When you say that you have 200% of the rights on your licensing page, it means that you can act on behalf of the songwriter for the composition rights and the sound owner for the sound recording rights. As we said above, the biggest nightmare for Music Supervisors is if there are any snags with the rights. If they want your music, they want it free and clear. When you can prove you own all of the rights they can do business with you much more easily.

3. Provide a place where they can hear your music and provide a lot of descriptive info about it.

As we state in our EM article, Music Supervisors are looking for the perfect piece of music to fit a specific clip of video. Because of this, they focus on qualities of music such as the overall mood the piece evokes, the genre, the tempo/BPM, whether it's an instrumental or vocal piece, and even what other artists it sounds like. Any descriptive info you can provide in advance on these qualities makes their job easier and could improve your odds of placement.

4. Have mastered tracks of WAVs, stems, and instrumental mixes for all of your music.

Depending on the type of piece, the Music Supervisor might need to use alternative mixes of the piece or just use one of the stems. Assuming you're comfortable with this, make all of these mixes as we discussed in the article Optimize Your Music Mix For Licensing have them ready to go at a moment's notice since Supervisors don't often have much time when they decide to use a piece. You should provide 320kbps MP3s and be sure to fill out all your ID3 metadata fields including your website and contact info.

5. Be easy to contact.

You should always be easy to contact, but this also includes the MP3s you send to Music Supervisors. Make sure your contact info is listed in the ID3 tags. Also, your email signature should include all your contact, website, and social networks so it's convenient for them. When they need a song, they usually need it immediately, and you don't want them skipping you because they can't call you.

These steps are only the music-prep for the Music Supervisor game, but they are the critical first step. Once you have this, the goal is to get in front of them. This is done via services that connect musicians to music supervisors, such as SongTradr -- which has a lot of features that can help with the steps above -- but also simply through networking and getting to know them personally. We cover ideas how to do this in the Master Class: Get Placed, Get Paid article.

Also, note that if you succeed in getting your music picked up, you should ensure you've completed all 7 registrations you need to do before releasing your music to make certain you receive all of the royalties you're owed. Check out our EM feature article, Master Class: Song Release Checklist, for more information.


#licensing #mmwm #musicsupervisors #tv #movies

Photo credit: Shinya Suzuki