Adventures in Music Licensing & Scoring!
April 2020 Vol. 8, No. 4
* 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)
* Wow! What the heck just happened - Worldwide Pandemic! Last month, normal life. This month, dystopian landscape. Cooties everywhere! It's a game of live "Pac-Man" at the grocery. Twilight Zone, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Andromeda Strain, no work, no economy, death, taxes, ENOUGH!!!
For YOU the composer, hey, it's your normal solitary existence. Luckily, there will ALWAYS be a need for entertainment, especially during a crisis. Check out what happened during WWII. Movies and music exploded. For this event, EVERYONE is at home watching TV. This is a golden opportunity to get your music in media. You have more time right now than ever before. Crank out those tracks! ...And, of course, help others!
Need a laugh? Watch this. (Caution, don't have anything in your mouth).
* I have a ton of information coming at me. Please read as much as you can, and email questions! I am doing a lot more one-on-one sessions by phone/skype/zoom/FB Messenger. Please let me know if you are interested. (Prices below).
* Please feel free to submit articles, questions, links, etc. to this newsletter.
* NOTE: ONLINE SCREENING of my film (I am composer and producer)! (See box below)
* The next licensing class is theoretically Sat, May 9, 2020. (If canceled, I may do an online class or individual instruction)
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 (Phone is fine, too, in these viral times!). 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.
* 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).
I Got Nowhere to Go, In a Hurry Blues
PANDEMIC BLUES SINGLE RELEASE!
Anyone going stir crazy? Here's something that might help you dance in your space wondering what kind of bizarre Twilight Zone we are now in? I just released this classic blues-style original track, in a hurry! It took a global pandemic to get me to sing and play blues-harp again!
* "As the Earth Turns" Update:
A VERY COOL WORLD-WDE SCREENING FOR EVERYONE!
Online Screening of "As the Earth Turns"
Bedford Falls Film Festival
April 5, 2020, 11:45 (PST)
This will be epic! This festival will have many films screening over THREE days, some panels, virtual red-carpet!, etc. It was originally scheduled for NYC. I will be doing Q&A live (TBA)! You can watch the filM anywhere (please use good speakers or headphones) This will be a perfect film for the family. It's an amazing 45 minute silent Sc-Fi film from 1938 (never released!) 118 festivals, 131 awards, nominations, including 33 for best score. It was made by Richard H. Lyford, a then, 20-year-old Pacific NW filmmaker, who went on to work for Disney, and direct and Academy-Award winning documentary. I am working on related projects about the filmmaker, too. $5 for the day! Lyford really did something special. See you there.
"As the Earth Turns" will be on Turner Classic Movies in the Fall of 2020! Other distribution TBA.
* I am now working on a biopic about the director, Richard Lyford. A whole new world is about to open up! As the new owner of the Lyford film-estate, I am going over his films with a 16mm film viewer. Back-to-the-Future!
I am still busy with the film, and looking for opportunities to show it (When the "cooties" are gone: Retirement communities, Schools with film programs (HS, College), Film history clubs, NW History Groups, Theatres, Activity centers, etc.). If you know anyone that might be interested helping make that happen, please let me know. Thanks!
Ad in "Variety": (similar one was in "Hollywood Reporter")
You can get the original poster (& mugs, t-shirts, etc.) here:
PS: I am considering a limited run of the poster (signed, with all the laurels) friends and fans of the film. If you are interested, please let me know.
Upcoming confirmed screenings of "As the Earth Turns":
Beach Cities Inspirational Film Festival, UPDATE: April 25, 2021, San Clemente, CA (Time TBA). "As the Earth Turns" won the "Crystal Wave Award" (Outstanding Recognition) in 2019.
* Speculative Film Fest - Pacific NW! July 2-5, 2020, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport (SWOC - Seattle Westercon Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention). (Ed Hartman will be in attendance)
118 festivals!, 131 awards/nominations, including 33 for best score!
About the film:
My soundtrack album is available. Any sales support this newsletter!
Recent adventures in licensing and scoring:
* "Pandemic Blues" dept:
I was walking to my post-box last Thursday and started singing the title ("I'm Going Nowhere In a Hurry Blues"). I got back in my studio, and did the entire recording in 2 hours! Piano, Harmonica, Drums, Vocals, Bass (Keys), Vibes. I really didn't think I could do the vocal, but I have sung blues and calypso over the years with my band. My wife said that my vocal was good, so I released the track that night! I've been playing harmonica since college (the only instrument I can put in a pocket!) The next day, I did do a "bed" -vocals muted, otherwise the same mix, and an instrumental version (added vibes). I registered the track to BMI, and added it to Songtradr. I did just file a copyright (It's getting easier. I always file for released tracks.) This track went through CDBaby. (Note: I never use their licensing option. It can have conflicts with music libraries.) BTW: CDBaby just closed their store on March 31, 2020 (they still distribution to Itunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.). This was quite a surprise! I just saw it, and was pretty pissed-off, frankly. I never received any notice. I just released the blues tune, so all of my links (on FB, etc.) had to be changed. The Firebird rises from the ashes...My website was on Hostbaby (CDBaby), and was recently transferred to Bandzoogle. Luckily, that host-service lets you sell directly to your audience! I am now going through ALL of my tracks there and creating albums for sale. This will be a LONG mission. I have already had sales, and it paid immediately through PayPal, and Bandzoogle does not take a commission. Late update: I have been in touch with someone who REALLY knows about CDBaby from the beginning. He found it appalling, too. Believe me, this person knows their history. I may use them, but am looking at other options. Songtradr is OK, except you have to maintain your membership ($) to keep the commissions down. Unless you have a ton of marketing, it's hard to say any real money is going to come from streaming, anyway.
* In other apocalyptic news...I have been doing more and more Zoom sessions (teaching, meetings, etc.). I've met some remarkable folks out there that are putting together amazing opportunities for musicians and filmmakers. My recommendation is get involved. Even better, come up with a way to help your community. You will get tremendous karma back. For a film-festival I am in (see related box), I have been helping the festival, and offering music. I even made a funny video for them (I'll release it next month!). A local film and music org is putting together a campaign to help artists all over the NW and SW. Artists are already tribal. We know how to get things done. Just do it! Don't wait for the end of the world. It ain't coming!
* Adrev continues to pay! Because of this track in this video , I'm getting an average of $100-150/month. The track was in a non-exclusive library, and placed into a doc in 2014. The doc went viral (over 1M views to date). There were some issues with monetization, but everything is fixed now. It does take 4-6 months to be paid (quarterly)
Honey, Your Royalties are in, dept.:
* BMI Day! With the 'plague" going, BMI sent out payments a few days early. Pretty wild. Typical quarter, maybe a bit lower (I have heard that from others). Still, generally good news. Royalties are heaven-sent during a crisis. My publishing side does continue to dwindle because very few placements have given me that side of the revenue. Most placements are from non-exclusive, retitile libraries, that own the publishing (on the retitle). My BMI registration is pretty hilarious. When I pick a publisher to add to a track, dozens and dozens of publishers pop-up. I have to make sure I pick my own publishing. (LIbraries re-register the track with a different name or code. That's how they get the publishing back-end. The writer's side still goes to me, though!)
* I finished a dramatic short film, that started out with a single track for licensing. I would up scoring the rest. It's a pretty decent indie about gun violence in the schools. I should be working with the director on future projects as well. You never know where a track will lead you. The original connection was on FB. Keep your eyes open. There really is work out there. Someone just connected with me in Linkedin for a documentary. (more next time!)
* I pitched a James Bond track to a publisher for a commercial. It was an older track. I did a little touch up to the mix to modernize it. https://edhartmanmusic.com/track/2027848/the-spy-guy. I also sent a dozen tracks to a publisher looking for "Soothing, Contemplative, Calming, Happy" tracks. Nice and specific, right?
Tales from the Tech-Side:
For anyone who is curious about TV, Film streaming services. I am learning about this (I am distributing a film). Double-speak of the future! Think about how your music is used, and where it winds up. Backend varies tremendously for placed music.
AVOD (Advertising-supported video on demand). The inclusion of advertising permits the site to stream content at no cost to the viewer.
DTC. Direct-to-Consumer. The delivery of film, audio, or media content through the internet without requiring the viewer to subscribe to a cable or satellite service like Comcast or Cablevision.
Internet. A global system of interconnected computer networks that link to worldwide network devices such as the ones in your home.
ISP (Internet service provider). A company that provides services for accessing the internet.
Media Streamer. A separate unit attached to or inserted into the TV that will allow viewers to stream multiple internet platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, directly to the TV. Most popular media streamers are Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku.
OTT (Over-the-top). Same as DTC. See above.
Platforms, Digital. Refers to internet content providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
Sound Bar. A unit attached to the TV to enhance the sound quality.
Streaming. The delivery of video or audio content directly to the viewing screen through the internet, bypassing cable or a satellite pay service. Also referred to as an OTT or DTC.
SVOD (Subscription video on demand). For a set monthly or annual fee, a viewer is permitted to access all the available content in a platform’s library.
TVOD (Transactional video on demand). You pay each time you view a film or other video product. There is no monthly subscription cost.
UHD (Ultra high definition). UHD is now standard with most 4K television sets
VOD (Video on demand). Content that can be viewed, on demand, by the viewer.
Articles from Readers!
Please email me if you would like to submit something for this newsletter. It can be about anything in music licensing and scoring. I would love to hear about your personal adventures with music libraries, PROs, music supervisors, directors, etc. You are already an authority on something. Just dig in and share. Thanks!
Questions from the Audience...
Do you have a notation application that you recommend? Needs to be able to run on Windows. BF
I don’t write out much these days, except when I am recording and need a quick piano chart from my recording software (Logic). It’s just for rough charting. Otherwise, I use finale (all-purpose program). It’s a pro program, and not necessarily easy. A midi-keyboard might help a lot. You can able to play in rhythm and then edit.
they have a free entry program:
Otherwise, this looks interesting:
Do you get into much with drum machines or do you use only Acoustic drums? LS
I’ve really never used a drum machine. I am a drummer, so my tracks are either completely acoustic drums, or using drum samples in Logic and creating grooves note by note. You can then quantize and “loop” them. There are other drummer features in the program, that I hear are excellent but haven’t used them much. I do use loops occasionally if I am in a very big hurry, or at least to set up the tracks and then replace later.
How long does it take to make money in licensing?
Making money will take a while. Honestly, this is not a get rich quick scheme. It is a new business for you and will take your time to learn about the types of music, the various pitching methods, the range of clients, etc. All I can say is put your time in making tracks. Listen to tracks from libraries you are pitching to. Listen to reference tracks on briefs. There's a group on FB called "Mix me". It's a good place to test a mix with others. TAXI will give you solid feedback. Some of it you will not like, and some of it may be simply a judgment. You will need to develop an armor-plated skin. A small percentage of your tracks will make it, and a few will be best sellers. Focus on those.
Regarding the business side, seek out local composers that deal with local laws. This will take time.
PS: Start a folder on your computer for all of your emails. Create subfolders (biz advice, meta, style, libraries, etc.) All of this info will be important to refer back to. Eventually, you will be like me, and be able to write a book about it! Think IRA.
Any thoughts about MusicXray?
I will say, that Musicxray.com (no membership, upload as many tracks, and $5-25 per submission) does give you the client contacts, although they will tell you not to submit outside Musicxray. It’s an interesting service. I have gotten some work from them, but it can be pricey per submission. There are presentation videos from the clients that tell you what they want.
$10 one-time “X-ray” fee for any song you submit. It has to do with analyzing the track. I don' think it is very accurate, though. You can add metadata, yourself. After it has been “xray-ed” you don’t have to pay this again. For me, with hundreds of tracks, it could get expensive. I generally only pitch one track for an op, here.
I can say that most of the time I do get a response in a few weeks, yes or no. I would be very careful with them, though. Caveat Emptor!!!
Per submission fees:
$5 - Musicxray fee.
$0-30 - Additional fee set by client*
*One red-flag for me, is that some of the submission fees go to the client. If a client puts out a very wide net ("all kinds of music wanted"), it could get a lot more submissions. This kind of pay-to-play can be problematic.
Final thought: I do see the same companies listing submissions regularly. Make are the same submissions. The service does make sense for them (keeps composers off their websites). At least there is no membership fee.
Who is licensing currently, or has projects in the pipeline and how can we get info on what kind of stuff they have licensed in the past.
Every library is always licensing tracks. It's the wild-west out there! IMDB Pro (you can usually get 7 days free) helps. Google the heck out of music supervisor's names. Try Linkedin. Many have websites and are starting their own libraries. https://www.guildofmusicsupervisors.com/ may have leads. Getting to music sups directly is always tough, any time of the year. That’s what http://syncsummit.com/ is all about. (they are heavily discounted right now, too).
Otherwise, I recommend contacting music libraries directly. They know the sups. Go to my resources page and start there.https://edhartmanmusic.com/resources-for-composers-and-songwriters Also check out other resources on that page, including Music Library Report.
What different methods do u use to find out if yer song gets used somewhere? DA
Good question. Most of the time, if you get a track placed in a library, they will tell you where it is placed, and possibly when it will air. TV is best for this, because placements can be very late in production. I’ve been told about a placement a few days before the show was to be aired. There are times when it is difficult to find out, especially with films. Producers and directors notoriously cut scenes after test screenings. Even if you have a “sync-master” agreement to allow the production to have your music, it is always their option to use it. I have had very nice agreements that never went anywhere. With some libraries, especially that are dealing with overseas placements, you may never find out from them, or at least until they pay you for it. Payments can be months later, because of agreements with producers, and different payment periods (quarterly, bi-annual, etc.). I had a track in a major network TV show that didn’t pay out until a year after broadcast, and after I had received royalties (which are usually 9 months after broadcast, themselves!). This is not a get rice quick scheme! It is closer to a slow-growth investment fund!
Regarding tracking, I use a free subscription to Tunesat.com You can upload up to 50 tracks, and it will detect when your track is on air, around the world. It is not perfect, and can make mistakes, and miss a lot. I have a track in a film, where the music was so far down in the mix (Muzak in a shopping mall), that it wasn’t tracking it. I had a DVD of the film, and extracted the soundtrack with my track (along with dialogue, sound effects, ambient, etc.). Tunesat.com found the track from that point on. It is not always easy to get those mixes, though. You have to have some pretty good tech to record off your TV, etc.
There are other pay companies that will track your music. I would guess large publishers (Warner Bros, Universal, etc.) use them, to make sure they are getting their publishing royalties around the world.
I occasionally google myself with a track name, and do find things out there. Some are legit, others are not. I don’t worry about the bad stuff, though. There’s really nothing I can do about it, and I don’t believe it is destroying my brand in any way. Someone in Russia is making a few rubles a year.
Services for TV and radio play (some have fees): (I’ve never used them. Most of my music is for TV and film)
https://adrev.net/ (Advrev collects revenue when others use your tracks on Youtube. This is free, there may be minimums to get started now. See older newsletters about my adventures with Adrev)
https://www.google.com/adsense - (Google owns Youtube, and will collect revenue on your own channel, and optionally others - I make a little $ a year, but it all adds up!)
LINKS OF THE MONTH:
Syncsummit - FREE daily chats about music licensing, music supervisors, etc.!
Syncsummit Music Supervisor Listening Sessions are now 50% off, and ONLINE!
Music biz ideas:
Writing for libraries:
TAXI Daily Quarantine Happy-Hour!
Clean up your mixes!
Modern Guide to Publishing:
NEW PITCH COMPANY: This is a per-pay pitch. Buyer beware.
LA Academy of Scoring Arts event:
Top DIY Musician Podcasts:
GET YOUR MUSIC HEARD BY A MUSIC SUPERVISOR DIRECTLY: (ONLINE!)
CDBaby DIY Convention ("Plague Permitting")
KEY WORLDWIDE MUSIC INDUSTRY & SYNC EVENTS LIST 2020:
Youtube, FB Monetization collection: (Be careful if you are in music libraries!)
NARIP EVENT IN ATLANTA: (Events are ONLINE until further notice!)
Meet Music Supervisors in person! ($$)
ASCAP - I CREATE MUSIC EXPERIENCE - APRIL 1-3, 2020 (Nashville) CANCELLED!
"Out On the Town" (in the Mancini tradition) from a few years ago out on Youtube against cityscape images (pixabay.com - free to use!) Why wait for a placment? Make your own content. I use Imovie.
Hey-I gotta make money, too! If you have learned anything from these newsletters please check out my SWAG! (NEW: "As the Earth Turns" SWAG!)
Ed Hartman Patreon Page: (This is a FREE newsletter. This is the closest thing I have to a subscription!) Is this newsletter worth at least $1 to you? Honestly, this newsletter takes HOURS to create! I'm not complaining, but it has been getting bigger. If you can support this newsletter, that would be wonderful!
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 month: (Very timely)
"A problem is a chance for you to do your best."