Adventures in Music Licensing February 2019 Vol. 7, No. 2
Adventures in Music Licensing
February 2019 Vol. 7, No. 2
* It’s the second snow-storm to hit Seattle in a week! Several inches here are doomsday. Actually, with the hills, micro-climates, lack of snow plows, it’s a mess. Wish us luck!
* My score for "As the Earth Turns", this crazy 1938 silent film is now in 50 film festivals (and counting), with 45 overall nominations/awards and 12 for best score! I have been successful in using the film as a tremendous tool to seek out more scoring work. I am also co-producer, and am working on a documentary about the director (cool backstory!)
* 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: * BMI Day! Excellent revenue this quarter. Most placements were from music libraries. Revenue can be from networks, cable and streaming (a bit less, but adds up!) Highlights: NBC (Rise)-Football Funk Ultimate Homes (Discovery)- unknown cue. Over a minute - into the bonus round! Pirates of Somalia(film with Al Pacino - straight to cable) “In Love With You” (bossa-nova, a la Bacharach)Leave it to Stevie (VH1)Very Merry Melody(a la Looney Toons) A cool halloween track, “Spirit of the Children” was used in a ghost-hunter show , RIP Files in the UK. That came from TAXI. I remember there was some weirdness about it. I don’t think I signed anything, although cue sheets were processed. I believe TAXI closed the submission over it. It worked out, though! My older film placements continue to gather revenue from around the world. Royalties can pay for 20 years!
* A very interesting development! A very popular track, “Rivertrance” was placed in a documentary (plays at the beginning), back in 2011(?) from a library. I don’t remember if I received any sync fee. The video, "Fatal Exposure:" Tragedy at Dupont", was put on YT, and has been getting tons of views. Adrev.netjust started to pick up the video (it can take awhile), and all of a sudden (well, let’s say it takes 3 month to get paid), I got over $100. The next quarter will be at least $500, possibly double that! Between three YT channels (just found another one - reported to Adrev immediately) it has nearly a million views. Too bad I missed the first 90% of the revenue! I ALMOST gave up my adrev account, because a library wanted to handle my YT income, so they could put their clients projects on YT easily. I had to quit the library, which I did like. Frankly, I can “whitelist’ any video, and make it available without advertising with one email to adrev. Be careful about being coerced into giving up your YT revenue. It might keep you out of a few libraries, but the potential for ONE video to go big is there, especially as libraries placements flow into the YT universe. Also, always believe your spouse when they say your track is good! This one has paid out for 10 years! It was done as an improv on marimba. I added vibes, and then percussion. No click, either. The recording was pre-DAW on a Tuscan 8 track digital recorder (still have it!)
* One more fun one: I recently wrote BMI: I was recently submitting a track for registration with BMI, and for the first time noticed another writer attached to my account (came down under the drop-down menu for writer). I have never split writers with anyone (that I know of). Is there anyway to find out more about this person/company, and what tracks (if any) might be on my account. I have over 1000 entries, so it’s difficult to search. I want to make sure I am not splitting an existing writers royalties incorrectly. Name attached: Hill, Mildred J. (ASCAP) As it turns out, Mildred J. Hill is the original composer for “Happy Birthday”!! Talk about long-term royalties! Happy Birthday recently became public-domain, so Mildred is going to get millions of co-writers!
Tales from the Tech-Side:
* The importance of templates!
I continue to improv my templates. Don’t be afraid of changing them. As you get better, you should make small changes. (You can always save them, too). For Logic, be careful about how you save your projects. I always save them as a folder. All files, settings, etc., are saved in one place. I back-up the folder when I am done with the project for the day, typically. When you do save as a folder, also be careful about not saving too many things. Copies of plugins, etc, can waste a lot of space. They might be good for archive, though. More info: https://daw-templates.com/ https://www.musictech.net/guides/essential-guide/10-tips-perfect-daw-template/
* Check out this track, “A Friendly Feud” - It was for a pitch (I saw in three different places. The reference was “Dueling Banjos”. I did find out the pitch changed direction later.) Everything was midi, performed on a my trusty older M-Audio Keyboard. Guitar and banjo sounds are really improving! I did pick up banjo and guitar concepts when I worked with musicians years ago. I arranged the music for vibes and marimba. The ideas have hung in there, and really paid off. The track has been picked up by a few libraries, too.
Questions from the Audience:(please email!)
What about sync agents for my publishing, perhaps someone in LA. Thoughts? EC I’ve always been hands-on. Usually, I learn a job, and then become that biz (agent, store, etc.). I have found that music libraries are the easiest way (although not the most fruitful) to get sync licenses. They do all of the work. You simply feed the machine. You would have to decide whether to give up pub on new tracks (excl) or go with non (retitles, a few let you keep and collect your pub). Even music sups are starting to create their own libraries (and even charge $ for submissions!). Some portals (hit license) are very tough to get licenses, and even when you do, you don’t connect with the client. Libraries don’t necessarily let you connect, but they don’t charge submission fees. I think it needs to be one or the other. At this point anything is possible. I've looked into sync agents but haven't signed. They seem to be evolving, and adding publishing, management, music libraries, etc. The bigger up the food chain the more important they prob are. Getting in on briefs is the thing. I have relationships with many libraries and pubs. More and more briefs are coming my way. Music sups are reachable, but take time. This co is heavily involved in getting connected. This page is specific to sync agents. This page is specific to sync agents: https://syncsummit.com/rep/
My first pitch (TAXI), was forwarded. Does that mean anything, do they forward most pitches? How long until i hear back? @ould you know the ball park range? Thanks for all your knowledge & inspiration & have a wonderful New Year! Im attempting to pitch my music now. JL Happy to help. Forwards are good - not just from TAXI, but anyone. It means the screeners liked your track (see comments). All TAXI can do is forward the track to the client. TAXI may forward one of a dozen or more tracks (out of ?). Forwards are likely a small percentage of what was submitted (5-20% - but that is just a guess) TAXI has thousands of members, and potentially 100s might go after a pitch. Whether the client likes the tracks is another story. The client is not obligated to use any track from TAXI or anyone. The track has to fit the opportunity. The client may look in other places, too. The client may be an ad agency, and they like the track, but their client doesn’t. If the client is a library, there is a better chance that you will be contacted for that track, and hopefully more. That can take a week, a month or six months. This can be a very long-term business. Thus, the licensing musician’s credo is: WRITE SUBMIT FORGET REPEAT. The more tracks, the more places you submit to, the more you research, the more you get your music out, the better the chances your music will find a home. I wil say that as good as TAXI is, getting responses from clients has slowed down. This has been confirmed by many members. That means there are probably a lot more folks out there pitching, and there are probably more places pitching, too. I have seen the same pitch in multiple places. I have seen a pitch change. The client has changed their mind from one type of music to another. With TAXI, your best bet is use as much of the organization as possible. The pitching mechanism is just one part. The convention, the TAXI forum, getting to know other TAXI members, TAXI TV, etc. are all important ways you can educate yourself and get a lot better chance for licensing opportunities. Once you have found a library (or a dozen) then you really go to work and find out what they are looking for. Ask the library to get on their email blasts for “briefs”. Then you will see very hot opportunities come at you. You will really learn how versatile you are as a composer, performer and producer. One more thing: Songtradr.com(another pitch company that has a paid and a free level of membership. Their definitions are a bit different. “Shortlisted’ means you are in the ballpark, style and genre-wise. “Final Selection” means the track will be forwarded to the client. “Accepted’ means the client took the track and you will be paid. Any of those points of the pitch can take weeks to months, also.
Keep the questions & comments coming, and I will answer as best as possible. (I may use them in my newsletters, anonymously)
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:
Improvisation is the ability to talk to oneself. Cecil Taylor