Adventures in Music Licensing January 2019 Vol. 7, No. 1


Ed Hartman's

Adventures in Music Licensing


January 2019 Vol. 7, No. 1



* Happy New Year everyone!  I am happy to help everyone's 2019 music licensing campaign.  It really is a yearly campaign, as I see it.  You set up connections, figure out the demand, supply the tracks, and then follow-up.  At the very least, I find looking at the year, as a whole helps keep the continuous marathon in perspective.  It's a good time to congratulate yourself on the wins, and reassess what didn't work, and why.

* My score for  "As the Earth Turns", this crazy 1938 silent film, has been traveling the world in 39 film festivals (and counting)!  Best of all, It's already received 9 nominations/awards for best score!  (25 awards/nominations overall).  We've entered hundreds of festivals, so and we are batting .600!   Trailer:

* 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: 

*  The year is young, but I am pitching away.  There has been a flurry of briefs from publishers and libraries.  Recently, I pitched a orchestral sports track  (, and just did a guitar-banjo track for a publisher (
As far as the end-of-the-year report, I can say it is has been the best year for composing, I have ever had.  That doesn't mean that the sync fees have been outstanding, but it does mean that I am getting regular work in both music licensing and scoring. 
* BMI paid well throughout the year (very consistent). 
* I received small license fees from a number of libraries (paid throughout the year.)
* I made a few bucks from CD Baby and Amazon Create-Space (on-demand CDs) for previous releases. Nothing big, but it adds up!
I released an album through Songtradr, and it is starting to get listens.  You never know where that kind of thing can go!
* I got a great prime-time placement with a decent up-front (although it took awhile), that is now paying well on the back-end.
* I scored 3 films, and 1 web-series.
So here's my take-away:  
1) Get as many tracks created as you can (at least one/week!).  If you need motivation, check out TAXI, Songtradr, etc. 
2)  Link up with at least 12 music libraries (non-exclusive to start).  
3)  Keep your eyes open on FB, Linkediin, Twitter, etc.  There are opportunities everywhere.  

Tales from the Tech-Side:

*  Templates.  Your latest track can always be a template for the next, but if you want to speed up your work-flo, I recommend creating a few different templates that you can open for your next project.  For me (LOGIC), I have a basic one, that is great for both audio and midi.  I also have a big orchestral one for larger projects.  It takes a while to open (many instruments) so I only use it when I need to.  You can always use lower quality instruments to start (LOGIC EX24 vs. East West, etc.).  There are many articles about templates these days, and you can probably buy some for your DAW.  In the end, don't get too hung up on it, but put some thought into it.  The next project may be a rush, so you want to be ready to do your best, without wasting a lot of prep-time!  Some ideas:

Questions from the Audience: (please email!)

How do I know if my music is good for music licensing?

I can’t tell you whether any piece is good for film or TV.  I can say that nearly every kind of music is used. If you watch a show that has something similar to what you’ve created, then there’s a market.  Getting your music to the music supervisor, or company is the challenge.  I recommend comparing your tracks with professionally recorded tracks to see if your music is up to the standard.  Professionally recording your music can make the difference on whether it will be put in a show or film.  (you can do it yourself, but you may need to learn a lot about recording, mics, etc.)  You also will need to join BMI or ASCAP to make sure your music is legally available for licensing.

Note:  This question is about my recent scoring project.  Typically, with music licensing I produce my own tracks completely (record, mix and master), because there is no time or budget.  It is almost always on spec, too.

I remember you mentioned that you had sent your film score to somewhere to be mastered. Why you didn’t master it yourself?

Good question.  The film score was mastered at Clatter&Din in Seattle.  They are a world-class post audio facility.  I can do a pretty good job of getting my score ready for a film, and then the production company/director will mix the music and dialogue with the film.  For small projects, this is usually OK.  In this case, we had the budget to do a professional job of master the score.  Because there is no dialogue with the film (silent) the entire soundtrack is music.  Any foley (sound effects) were done with instruments as part of the score.  I did temp mixes with the producer to make sure everything was synced, and the right direction.  As good as my mixes were, a serious post studio will take indivudual tracks, stems (groups of tracks, like low strings, high strings, etc.) and mix them a lot better.  The studio has much better effects, reverb, speakers, etc.  Also, they can do 5.1 surround, which is possible for me, but I am not set-up for it.  Having a decades-experienced engineer is amazing, too.  By the time I came to the studio, he had already dialed in all of the tracks I supplied.  I gave him a reference track from my mix to work with, to make it easy to sync.  I was then able to go through the film, scene-by-scene, and maximize the overall musical mix.  We also nudged effects sounds, added bass, etc.  Even a stereo mix really needs to be a mix with a center speaker for theatre.  That’s really what it’s all about.  If you are doing something that will wind up on Youtube, your own mix is probably fine (the trailer is my mix).  Once you get to theatrical presentation, you have may have a few different mixes that might be needed.  You will also need to master a DCP (Digital Cinematic Package), Blue Ray and DVD versions.  
If you watch a film, and look at the sound department in the credits, you will see dozens to hundreds of people responsible for sound and music design on a modern film.  The idea that any of us can really do all of those jobs is pretty impossible.  I do know that this film would not be in so many festivals and winning awards, if the mix was mine, alone.  Hopefully, I will be doing more scores that have a budget for proper mixing and mastering.  I love to control the music, but know my limits.  I did a CD in the 1990s that was recorded at Triad Studios in Redmond with the best engineer in the city, and a great producer.  That CD is still selling and the tracks get used regularly on films an and TV.  If you can, use studios!  It can be worth it!

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


I did music for this WEB-Series.  This was the track that started the relationship.  The producer was looking for O Fortuna, and I came up with this in a few hours!  I scored it to video.  (all of the its had to match!)  The piece is at the end of the scene.  All me.

Basics of home-recording:

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

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

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:

I do not admire a musician who just plays good music, I admire a composer who shows his music through his life.
Youngjun Choi



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