Adventures in Music Licensing, December 2017

Ed Hartman's

Adventures in Music Licensing

December 2017 Vol. 5, No. 12


*  Happy Holidays to everyone!  Another year goes by....The year has been quite amazing for me.  With the epic closing of my store, The Drum Exchange, I am now officially a composer! (along with some teaching and maybe performing)

* Welcome new readers! Please email any questions about licensing. I am always happy to respond (and it will go into the next newsletter)

*  I am teaching my next Music Licensing Class on Saturday, Febrary 24, 2017, 9am to noon.  (   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 am going to take 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!

* I did start a Patreon page.  This is very new to me, and I have a lot to learn about it.   My page is (  Feel free to support the effort!  Call it a voluntary subscription to this newsletter. 

* NW Composers: Look on FB for Seattle Composer Alliance Monthly Meetups! They will move around, so keep your eyes open.

* I am doing one-on-one consultations (in person, skype or phone). If you are not in the Pacific NW, and would like to get info, please email me ( Let me know what you are interested in talking about (licensing, contracts, exclusive vs. non, writing, tech, etc.) and we can schedule a time to talk. My fees are below. If you just have a short question, you can always email it for a general answer in the next newsletter. Please let me know if I can be of help!

* If you have any articles, links, ideas, etc. related to music licensing, please let me know!

* For anyone who has taken my licensing class, I would very much appreciate any testimonials you have about the class. This feedback helps with promoting future classes. Please email me (see below).    


Recent adventures in licensing:

I am continuing my experiments on Youtube. It will be interesting to see what the viewship will be.  I did put some educational videos together, and they have attracted some interest, with a little help from Facebook, Twitter and other social media (Topbuzz).  I have received some OK revenue from Google (Adsense) for youtube videos to date.  It is building.

There was a usage of a track in a Youtube video (originally a TV show from 2012 16:09 Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies) The video has brought in nearly 1M views (other channels have it too).  Because I didn’t start collecting until a year ago (via, I missed most of those views (about $1000 worth!)  If you are thinking about adrev for YT, go to  That's all about other people using your music on YT.  

When I upload my own music, I use YT and Google Adsense to collect.  I just put my entire "Marimbells of Christmas" CD (with video and images).  An interesting thing happened.  I got a copyright claim from a company.  This company has a history of claiming music on other peoples videos, whether they do or not. Also, they are afilliated with Sony, so they are checking for 2 million tracks.   I did some research, and emailed the company directly.  It took over the weekend, but on Monday, they did release the claim, that allowed me to put ads on the video.  It was a weird experience to have someone claim they owned music, I recorded myself.   I don’t recommend fighting it with Youtube.  It will take too long, and there are issues, if you lose. 

I did get paid for some placements over the last year from a publishing in LA that tends to find good work. (  IT’s an indie movie, “Adventures in Public School”.  The track is a taiko style drum piece (  I also received a check from a 2016 series “Killjoys” (Canadian and SyFy). ( - It was on Season 3, Episode 1.  The track is "Circus of the Mind" (  The track is a off-beat, warped circus theme.

I was a vendor at the “Seattle Film Summit” in Renton a few weeks ago.  It was put on by a friend who is a filmmaker.  I had a computer, PA and headphones set up for filmmakers to check out my tracks.  We will see what comes from that event.  It was a very cool event for filmmakers.  There were pitching sessions and panels about the film industry.  I might help bring the music side into it next year.  


Tales from the Tech-Side:

More about “neutral tracks”: (mellow, no drama style for underscore) From a library I work with:

No 3rds.  (can’t tell if major or minor)

Light acoustic instrumental approach. 



Questions from the Audience: (please email!)

Hey Ed,  Just wanted to update you and let you know that I had some tracks get forwarded (TAXI) to the ad agency for that project I was talking to you about which is pretty exciting. I was just curious, what happens at this point? Is it in the hands of the ad agency at this point or does Taxi still act as the middle man? Thanks again for everything! Very excited that they forwarded some of my music, even if nothing comes of it.

Anytime you get a forward that's a win.  TAXI simply gets you to the client (thus the name)   Any negotiations are direct.  The client now has to become interested in your track.  They may have a dozen other track s (of the 100s that might have been pitched) or may not like any of them.   I have had many forwards, but not necessarily a lot of deals.  If the deal is not exclusive, you should pitch it elsewhere.  If it is exclusive, then hold on pitching elsewhere for a few weeks to a month.  Beyond that, I wouldn't wait too long.  If the client does get back to you later, you can always offer another custom (and even better track)   The important thing is not this gig, but the relationship with the client. 
Any info from the screeners might be of interest, or not.   It does tell you that a professional does like the track.   That's important, no longer how long you've been at this game.
Use my resources links to work lots of markets.  
Good luck, and let me know what happens!

When you co-write with someone, whether its lyrics/music or just music, I can easily see a 50-50 split on income.  But what is logical or common practice when a collaborator records a drum track for you?  It’s not a salient melody or harmonic part of the song although it’s an integral part of making things come it valued at a 50-50 split?

Good question.  How much is someone’s time and effort worth?  It’s hard enough to value your own time.  My feeling is whether it’s drums or rhythm guitar, a collaborator helps steer the song, itself.  That means that person is integral to creating form - beginning, middle and end.  Personally, I’ve stayed away from collaboration, and hired musicians to play on the track.  I always have them sign a “Work for hire” (WFH) agreement.  I always pay them something.  “Work for hire” actually requires payment of some kind to be legal.  

In the end, I have had WFH musicians help create the composition.  But, because of licensing issues, it’s always easier to license something yourself.  If you have collaborators, you will have to get their signatures on everything.  What happens years from now, when they have moved, or are hard to get a hold of?  I know if libraries that will only pay one writer, and it will be up to that writer to split any upfront license fees and backend royalties. If you have a regular writing partner, you can probably get the details smoothed out.  

On the other hand, many friends, I know, are certainly collaborating a lot, and both parties are actively shopping the tracks.  That gives the tracks a lot more chance of getting placements.  A recent survey said that it takes four and a half songwriters to create a hit.  I want to know the “half” person!

If you look at modern hip-hop, etc., drum parts (“beats”) are extremely integral, and possibly over 50% of the piece.  Best advice, is WFH whenever possible, and that means paying someone something ($50 & up).  If they are involved more that constructing parts, and performing them, consider collaboration.  In thinking about drums, before digital, drum parts were performed.  Would you consider a live drummer a collaborator with the track?  Just because it’s programmed, doesn’t really change the part.  It’s just the execution.  

Your question reads, "when a collaborator records a drum track for you”, does that mean they were a collaborator before they recorded the track, or you are regularly collaborating?”    Also, Ringo never got writers on Lennon-McCartney songs, in general.  Lots to consider.  You are hopefully more confused now!  Sit on it for a day or two.  You might offer the drum person a WFH fee.  It’s something to talk about at the beginning of a project.  I never ask anyone to record, without agreeing to a fee for their services.  It can get messy, later.  What you do not want, is to have someone come to you later, and demand writers share.

My question is, some licensing sites seem to want "artists" not those who write songs with the purpose of licensing them. 

I don't worry about the difference of writing for licensing or not.  It is true that writing "cues" - typically music that doesn't go by the usually song structure, may do better in licensing.  That doesn't mean you should change your writing habits.  Do what you are good at, and worry about the client later.  Any type of music can be used in media.  If you want to write strictly music for TV, you do want to study what kind is created.  A new book about Production TV music just came out, by Steve Barden, a TAXI member (  I'll probably get it.  Also, a friend Dean Krippaehne has a number of books (also a TAXI member).  (  

Is there a market for writing songs to license them?

Listen to TV and film soundtracks.  If your style of music is there, there's a market.  I believe there is a market for every kind of music.  Your job is simple to find it.  Supply and demand.  Half of music students are songwriters, and half composers.  It is identically at music licensing conventions like TAXI and ASCAP.  



Tips for Avoiding Tech Trouble When Recording Your Songs


Are you using your music production tools effectively


The Importance of Getting a Sync Rep:

Music Licensing in the Digital Age with BMI’s Vice President David Levin

 “Don’t Try to Impress Me”: The Real Way to Get Hired by a Production Music Library


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:

“Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.”

Victor Borge

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