Adventures in Music Licensing December 2018 Vol. 6, No. 12

Ed Hartman's

Adventures in Music Licensing


December 2018 Vol. 6, No. 12



* It time for the final newsletter of 2018 (SIX YEARS)!  I hope everyone has had a lucrative and healthy new year.  Have a great holiday season, and I hope to see many of you in 2019.  

* Thanks to everyone that came to the film screening yesterday, in Seattle.  I scored the film "As the Earth Turns" in the fall, and we had a magnificent event at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, on Sunday, December 9, 2018.  There were scenes filmed there, in the 1930s, and some of the aircraft types used in the film are on display, there!  Guests were treated to a nice reception (Swedish Meatballs! - Yum), had free entry into the museum, and then saw the film in the theatre.  I've been receiving great responses about the film and it's history.  I hope the film will play at festivals near you.  Right now, the film is in 22 festivals, with a number of awards (including multiple composer/score awards!).  We are waiting on hundreds more.  This is an epic festival run!

* Welcome new readers! Please email any questions about licensing. I am always happy to respond (and it will go into the next newsletter) Look deep into this newsletter.  There are some real gems of info here.

* I continue to meet individually with folks that have taken my licensing class, along with newbies.  The info is continually changing (as you can tell from this newsletter!)  You are welcome to schedule a time to meet.  I prefer to meet in Edmonds, in my studio.  We can take a listen and analyze at your music for licensing potential.  I have time most days, including weekends.  Fridays are best.  Phone and Skype are available for those people not in the Pacific NW.

*  The next licensing class is this Sat, Feb 23, 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 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 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: 

*  Youtube Ad Revenue DEPT:  I did get a reasonable chunk of money from for this video.  There have been over 700K views. The track was put in the video through a licensing company, originally.  For whatever reasons, I can only collect on the last 40K views (before Adrev caught the track, I think).  Too bad, it would have been considerable money!  The track is right off the top of the video.  Here's the original, "Rivertrance":  It is a big selling track, that I did years ago on a Tascam 8-track digital deck (still have it!).  It was based on an improv, on marimba, vibes, keys and light percussion.  There is something very 'live" about it - I believe the Tascam has something to do with it.  It's old-school recording, without DAWs visual distractions, etc..  It fits nearly any ethnic style.  It has been used extensively on cooking and travel shows!  It was on an anti-climate-change film, "Cool It" (believe it or not!) a few years ago.  There were only four people in the theatre watching the film on opening night. It lasted 2 weeks! It did make royalties.  Good placement from Audiosocket!

The OTHER big event I attended was the Seattle Film Summit, in Renton, WA (south of Seattle), in November.  It was a wonderful growing event, in it's 2nd year.  Primarily for filmmakers (hey, where are you going to find them!!), there were lots of panel discussions, vendors (I had a table, too!), and events.  I put on a Film Music Panel, all-about composing and licensing music for filmmakers!  It was well attended, and I moderated panelists.  There was another composer there, Catherine Joy (Lives in LA and Seattle - We met on the Seattle Composers Alliance Board years ago), a representative from Audiosocket (Music Library in Seattle), a representative from Clatter&Din - Post production house in Seattle (I mixed my filmscore there, too!), and a music supervisor from Vancouver, BC!!!  It was a lively discussion about how filmmakers work with composers, set a budget, licensing tracks, mix, etc.  The other composer and I also showed video demos of our music!

My best advice, is not to wait for the next conference.  Get involved with an existing event, or create your own!  You will be in the center of the activity, and make the best connections, along with creating a healthier environment for everyone in the media community.  I will say that my involvement in this conference started years ago, when I got on the Board of the Seattle Composers Alliance.  I produced events, and got my music in the Seattle Film Festival (3 different times) through a composer program.  One of the filmmakers on one of the festival films I scored put this conference on.  I also helped score another film for him, and, more recently, and became involved in producing my event at the summit above.  A leads to B leads to C, etc.  The small things you do, can have tremendous repercussions in the future.  My credits runneth over.


Tales from the Tech-Side:

*  I recommend that you learn as much as you can about 5.1 surround.  I don't necessary think you will need it for individual tracks, but there can be issues when scoring a film.  Theatres can have problems with it, and you may get different results at different times.  Once you've scored a film, the film gets mastered.  You will eventually see a stereo version, and possibly a surround sound version.  Different size versions may go to different festivals and distributors.  For our film, we are preparing DVDs, BlueRays (Surround), DCP (Digital Cinematic Package) $$$, etc.  It's quite a lot of effort to get a film out there.  Be sympathetic to filmmakers.  They may be facing audio and video challenges far beyond what you are aware of!  If you can have a theatre check your film out, music and visually, you may save yourself a lot of grief!

Questions from the Audience: (please email!)

I have a question regarding the Cinematic Piano album, which by the way is quite lovely.  My question is, I didn't know you were a piano player! Thought you were a percussionist/drummer/marimba guy  Did you play acoustic piano throughout these pieces or how did you develop them? I know you do a lot of electronic production stuff.

Thanks very much for your kind words.  The album is here: As far as the piano music, I do accompany my students on keyboards.  I’m very good with bass and chord comping in Jazz and Latin.  My overall improv skills are very good, too.  I used them to sketch out the film I just finished.  I was with a harpsichordist when I first arrived to Seattle in 1979.  That instrument taught me counterpoint.  I’ve been a Bach nut ever since!  
I don’t perform on piano.  My right hand is not fast enough.  By using high quality samples in Logic (EastWest pianos), slowing the music down, and editing, I have been able to create some reasonable sounding music.   All tracks on the album were improvised.  A few had some chord changes written out, but that’s it.  I have done some recording with a grand in the last year, but the sampled pianos are better.  The piano tracks were all pitches for licensing.  When I realized I had an albums worth, and Songtradr looked interesting, I decided to go for it.  The video I created, and film-festival award I received were a bonus, and validated the tracks.  I have no idea what will become of these tracks in the long run, but hopefully they will continue to attract new clients, and may even get an audience, although my focus is not on distribution at the moment.  

There have been some general questions about Songtradr... ("ST" below)
I have mixed feelings about this portal.  It started off with a bang, and everyone jumped on board.  It was free, and seemed to be having success.  Folks were getting their music shortlisted (in the ballpark), final selection (forwarded to client, supervisor), and a few accepted (licensed).  There were also a number of "Overhead licensing" opportunities, and folks have reported some income.  
Eventually, the platform started have an optional monthly or yearly fee.  It is low, and includes a certain amount of "credits" for use to pitch your music.  It is similar to TAXI, but doesn't have the educational component (The Taxi Rally, YT channel, Forum, etc.).  As a free service (they take a commission on placements, etc.), it was no-risk.  At the moment, the risk is low.  You can submit to a LOT of opps for the membership fee.  They also allow you to create albums to distribute to Spotify, etc.  They take a low commission on sales (creating the album is free).  CDBaby, etc. charge per album, but there is no membership.  If you distribute an album through ST and then quite the membership, the discount will go way up (you can try to take your tracks down, and go back to CDBaby, etc.).  I did release a piano CD through ST, just to try it out.  The submission process was pretty easy.  

Bottom line is:  I am giving ST about a year to produce income.  I have submitted to many opps, and may of my tracks have made it to Final Selection (forwarded to client).  Nothing has been licensed, except some overhead music monetization (free to do).  Recently, three tracks did get into ST Playlists, and hopefully will yield results.  The platform does allow you to post your music where it can be seen and heard, although getting folks access to individual tracks can be a bit challenging (format of the web address).  Anyway, you can try it out for FREE with no risk, but you will have very limited pitch opps for the credits you get per month.  I do know of folks that have made some money.  There is a ST FB page, and it can be very lively with ST members chiming in.  In the end, TAXI, does have the convention, but has similar issues these days, with a lack of response from forwards (we call it "crickets").   I believe that there is an abundance of music available for licensing, but demand is still there, with increasing media outlets needing tracks.  You just have to find them.

Please let me know if you are having any real success with ST, TAXI, Musicgateway, Musicxray, etc.  There are unending ways to spend money, trying to make it.  Some are good, some are not.  I will say, that if ANY company or platform motivates you to create a track, it may be worth it in the long-run.  A ST pitch is what motivated me to create the track that I created a YT video with, and my producer watched.  Then hired me to score the film I just did.  That was a VERY good use of funds on ST.  

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


New video for the holidays!  (This was a sync track from this year)
Silent Night (piano and strings)

Make your percussion sound fuller:

Hey-I gotta make money, too!   If you have learned anything from these newsletters please check out my SWAG!

Ed Hartman MusicSWAG! 

Ed Hartman Patreon Page:  (This is a FREE newsletter, please support to keep it that way!)


Joke/Quote of the week:

If music is a place - then jazz is the city, folk is the wilderness, rock is the road, classical is a temple. 

Vera Nazarian

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