Adventures in Music Licensing June 2019

Ed Hartman's

Adventures in Music Licensing


June 2019 Vol. 7, No. 6



*  Welcome new readers!  Please feel free to email questions about music licensing (and scoring).  I will answer you by email, and add your questions (anon.) in the next newsletter. (see below)

* Happy June! The usual “June Gloom” in Seattle has been very minimal.  Warm temps, dry.  95 in Seattle yesterday!  Usually, summer starts July 5.  This year, June 5th?  Hows the weather where you are?

* The next licensing class is Sat, Oct 26, 2019. (
Please share this with any musicians, bands, songwriters or composers you know in the Pacific Northwest. If you live outside of the Pacific NW, I will be taking my class on the road. Please email me, if you have any connections with music schools in your area. I can offer a combination morning Licensing Workshop, and afternoon Percussion Clinic!
Can't make the class?   I have been doing a lot of "one-on-one" sessions with folks.  It's a great way to answer nagging questions about licensing, and help organize your process for pitching, etc. We can take a listen and analyze at your music for licensing potential.  I generally do sessions in my studio in Edmonds, WA.  A band can come together to share the cost.  Otherwise, I can skype, phone, or FB Video with you. Email for info.

* UPDATE “As the Earth Turns”:  My trip to the American Asian Latino Film Festivalin NYC was wonderful!  I met a very diverse bunch of filmmakers.  The screening was in the Village.  This was a very community style event.  I am now connecting with filmmakers that were there.  

*  In addition, there was this little news:  The film did it’s NW premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival!  Wow.  Red carpet (see interview), screening at the 1915 built, Egyptian Theatre on Capitol Hill, in Seattle.  Fun parties, networking, incredible production, etc.  I also was on a Music for Film panel with other great composers.  Everything about this event was top notch.  I can say that becoming a producer is a game-changer for anyone composing music for film.  There is a direct relationship between licensing and scoring.  Both help each other.  I recommend that everyone looks into the other opportunities.  (See below).  There was also the “Filmmakers Dinner” at the top of a building in Amazonia, with select major SIFF filmmakers and staff.  Amazing food and conversation!  PS:  Did I mention we found more footage a a result of the SIFF screening?  More soon.  Barbara Berger (female lead) became a soap opera and Broadway star.  Her relatives live in the NW, including the infamous Knute Berger (AKA "Mossback").  They had no idea their aunt was in this film!

* As the Earth Turns has played recently in the UK, Rock Island, IL, Munich etc.  Around the world it goes…

Upcoming confirmed screenings: 
Nickel Film Festival, June 22, 2019, 3:30pm, LSPU, Labrador/New Foundland.
Realtime Film Festival, Lagos, Nigeria, June 28, 2019 5pm.
Gen Con Indianapolis, IN Saturday, Aug 3, 2019 10:30am.
West European International Film Festival Thursday, Aug 22, 2019, 7:45pm. - Brussells, Belgium
The film is now in 82 film festivals (and counting), won 90 awards/nominations including 23 for best score! There will likely be a few more NW screenings.
List of festivals and awards: 

* I would very much appreciate any testimonials you have about the class or individual sessions. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).

Recent adventures in licensing: 

The pitching game:  I just submitted 3 tracks to Songtradr for comedy music today (6-13-19).  The reference was the theme from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.  I pitched these tracks:
Game Show Theme (has been placed elsewhere) - shortlisted only.
Can’t Stop Gonna Drop - (Elfman style) final selection (to a Music Supervisor)
Penguins on Parade (a la Mancini) final selection (to musicsupervisor)
None of these tracks were that close, but there was a very short window (I only saw 2 hours).  My guess is they didn’t get many submissions.  In the end, it’s a win, because two tracks at least, will get heard by a musicsupervisor.  You never know… I will report next month, if either got anywhere.

* Recent TAXI forwards: (Hoping the “crickets” will quiet down!)
Black Sunset - to a Music Supervisor
Review from TAXI: I like the laid back attitude and the somber feel of the arrangement on this original lounge jazz instrumental. This meets the requirements of the listing.

American Rosewood to a Music Supervisor
Review from TAXI: I like the duet of the marimba and the piano and the sense of reflection on this instrumental track. This meets the listing's criteria.

*  I was at the Seattle Composers Alliance meetup last night.  They need help.  I recommend all NW composers join, and any current members check in ASAP. 

A related story:
The first time I went to a Seattle Composers Alliance (SCA) meetup (over a decade ago!), I was a classic “fly-on-the-wall”.  I didn’t know anyone, and considered myself a performer and teacher, that dabbled in composing.  I did have success in licensing at this point, but no scoring, etc.  I had done composing off an on in my life, but very part-time.  
Within a year, I got on the board.  I created a number of events, including an amazing “Speed Dating” event for filmmakers and composers. A dozen composers had stations, while the filmmakers had a few minutes with each.  It was a great event, and some composers got work from it.  I got to know everyone, because I invited everyone.  I even had Tom Skerritt interested (couldn’t make it, though).  Many other events, including starting regular meetups, fundraising events, etc. were created.  I also scored three “Fly Films” where SCA composers were paired with filmmakers for quick-turnaround screenings at SIFF.  The SCA started to connect with SIFF and sponsor events, regularly, including screenings and forums. 
Flash-forward to the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival.  I have been on three of those film music forums, including this year.  The contact I originally made at SIFF was the educational coordinator.  He was the person that put the forums together.  He also hosted my screening of “As the Earth Turns” at SIFF.  
What I am trying to say, is the SCA directly lead to SIFF.  It has been a work in progress for a decade, but has had a tremendous reward.  If you REALLY want to be a composer/creator/songwriter, then get involved in community organizations.  You do not know where it will lead.  The more you put in, the more you will get out.


Tales from the Tech-Side:

* Metadata Part II:
I use Metadatics to add metadata (also Sound Studio similar to Audacity - which are stereo recording and playback programs good for finishing/mastering your tracks). With Metadatics, you drag multiple tracks from anywhere on your computer, add meta, save. The tracks don't move, but the meta is changed. It works with all kinds of file types, too. You can get rid of all the trash meta Itunes adds as well.  
One issue, though:  WAV files do take meta, but may not be read in Itunes, etc.  I recommend AIF files in general, unless a WAV is requested.  Songtradr and some libraries like WAVs, but you usually add custom meta on the site.
Meta that goes with tracks isn’t very universal, yet.  Libraries will have you add tons of moods, instruments, keywords, etc.
With iTunes evolving, this may become an important issue to watch.  Music Supervisors use Itunes.  I do use iTunes to generated mp3s and have it as a player (for teaching, etc.).  I do NOT use it for meta.  I generate mp3s after I’ve added Meta to the track.  It does follow from the original track.  Before I submit tracks  to anyone, I check the meta.  Metadatics is great for that.  Drag it in, edit and it save.  Again, the track does not move, but the meta is changed.  Voila!


Questions from the Audience...

What is “Neighboring Rights”?

Neighboring rights is all about rights in other "neighboring" countries. I had looked into this before, via This database will look up any tracks you have that have a performer royalty due (not writer or pub). This is similar to Soundexchange. 
Because the US does not do this (yet), most countries don't have a bilateral setup with the US. If you want to get this royality, I think you have to join a collection org (company) to get it. Unless you have a lot of music, that qualifies, it's probably not worth it. I would guess that radio broadcast might make a large piece of this pie. I did just look myself up (free up to a few searches), and found a track that was in a movie (that did OK worldwide), and there are royalties due. I started a claim, but I doubt I will do anything about it, unless there is a spike. It might be worth checking it out, depending on your catalogue. There are a number of videos about this, including this one: MLR has some interesting info, too:

I've just finished a full length, 3 Act ballet.  1 hour & 40 minutes of music.  I have some ballet companies that are interested.  I've recorded it but not for sale...I'll give them copies of the CD for evaluation along with the libretto that I also wrote.  I've written "copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved" at the bottom of each Act of the score.  Do I need to do the old "send it to myself in the mail" routine, or how should I copyright it?  Also...any licensing that I should consider?  Will things change once a ballet company decides to produce it
Your music is copyrighted the moment you conceive of it.  The big question is, can you defend it in court, if it was challenged.   I would copyright the music, considering it’s live.  It should be $55ish for the entire piece (you can list movements), like an album.  I generally copyright music that might be performed live, or printed out.  The mail deal doesn’t really work.  In court (assuming you can afford it) only the US Copyright can truly show a date for registration.  Of course, all of this assumes someone wants to steal it.  On the other hand, if someone thinks you stole their music, this is a protective measure (again, if you can afford to fight.)  It’s all online.  If you have a recording you can copyright the recording and the music itself (sheet, etc.) at the same time.  Watch videos about the registration process.  It’s the government, so it is quirky.  Save as you go!  
Regarding BMI or ASCAP, I would recommend registering the work (or movements, etc.) for possible use on TV, in Film, Web, media, etc.  They do not require the music track.  Only the basic info (track length, performers, your publishing, etc.).  I just did this for a 45 min film score (both copyright and BMI reg - both dividing the music into short pieces.  My guess is ballet is similar.  

What is the difference between writing cues for licensing and film scoring?
-from a FB response
Scoring is custom composing "to-picture".  You are synchronizing your music to the action.  I use Logic on Mac to do this.  It takes time to learn.  I recommend practicing with any video.  (check for free public domain footage, or  Better yet - shoot your own video.  Even a phone takes decent video! 
They can be quite similar.  The big difference, is a cue is for one particular thing.  A score has to have a cohesive musical idea for the entire film.  Themes may be developed.  A writing style and vocabulary may be created.  The composer goes through the film with a filmmaker (“Spotting session”) and goes through it scene by scene.  In the end, film music tends to be a series of short cues. I have heard it described as thematic music without development. That can be true. Great film composers can write tremendously developed music with a film score and still stay out of the way of the dialogue, along with creating a sonic atmosphere and emotional undertone. It is very exciting to do, and amazing to watch when you get a scene right. The film has to carry its weight, too, of course. Great composers like Berlioz and Wagner really were media composers of their day (opera, and motif led scores). In the end, its all good. A lot of licensing creation can be based on film scores.  Music licensing is part of the soundtrack and sound design.  It may be music coming from a TV or radio, or it may be a type of piece that the score composer doesn’t have time or the skill to create (like a Hip-hop track in the middle of an orchestral score).  Films can be quite eclectic.  Many styles of music can be used in one film.  
I recommend listening to "Streaming Soundtracks”  Its found on radio apps and online. 24/7 film music. One short commercial first. You will get an amazing education. Take a walk and listen on good headphones.  I listen daily.  it always motivates me.

Keep the questions & comments coming, and I will answer as best as possible. (I may use them in my newsletters, anonymously)


I did this video while I was in NYC at the 911 Memorial.  It's worth a trip. The plaza and fountain are quite moving.
The track is from my CD, "Moving Images" Cinematic Piano Music.  I shot it with my "not quite an DSLR Nikon camera.

Tips for Using Reverb and Compression Effects on Your Songs

What Are Neighboring Rights?

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Ed Hartman Consultation

I am always available for one-on-one consultation, in person or via phone or Skype (call or email to set up)

One hour: $70.00

Two hours: $120.00

Groups: contact for price

I will be happy to critique your music, make recommendations for marketing, suggest libraries to put you music in, help figure out studio configurations (although I am not a heavy tech person. I can recommend people, though), and give you general career advice. If you are interested, please call or email. 


Joke/Quote of the week:

"When people believe in boundaries, they become part of them.”
Don Cherry

1 comment

  • Charli Smith
    Charli Smith Australia
    I am looking for really pretty piano music to play, and I don't have any ideas.Free online sheet music would be cool too.

    I am looking for really pretty piano music to play, and I don't have any ideas.Free online sheet music would be cool too.

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