Adventures in Music Licensing November 2018 Vol. 6, No. 11

Ed Hartman's

Adventures in Music Licensing


November 2018 Vol. 6, No. 11



* Almost Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is doing well.

* IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: YOU ARE INVITED TO A SPECIAL EVENT!  I have been working on a 1938 silent film (never released), and it is finally ready!  
The score is orchestral, and I had it professionally mixed at a superb studio in Seattle (Clatter&Din).  The film is heading to festivals (there has bee a lot of interest).  We are having a special FREE private screening for family, friends, composers, and film folks, on Dec. 9, 2018 in Seattle (late afternoon-eve).  I will be putting out an invitation to those that are interested (limited seating).  This is a really cool venue (related to the film), and you will get a freebie out of it, too, easy parking (It's a Sunday - no traffic)!  If you are interested in attending, PLEASE EMAIL ME! Go to for email, if needed.  This is a private event, and should be really fun.  (PS: Please email only if you are available to come on the date.  I can make it +1, generally, if space permits.  I will not be inviting via this list) 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: 

*  About the library that changed their policy:  I decided to end my contract because of AdRev issues (Youtube) - they don't want any of their composers to use any monetization companies (I use  Frankly, I haven't made that much with adrev.  I just didn't want to close it because of just one company, though.

* Regarding the silent film, above:  There is a licensing story here.  The person that asked me to score the film, saw my video on YT:  They knew I composed, but it wasn't until they saw music for a silent film I did, that I was asked to score the film.  The track for the video about, was actually a pitch for a Danny Elfman-style pitch on Songtradr.  It was really close, but didn't make it on ST.  The track, "Can't Stop, Gonna Drop", was a new level of orchestral composing for me (IMO).  I can't tell you how or why, except I am very much improving my articulation skills on Logic (EW Orchestras).  The track was created first, and then I found the Buster Keaton film (PD), and it fit very well, with no editing.  
So the Songtradr track got me the film!  Since, that track has been submitted to a few other libraries (and accepted).  I think it will get some placements.  It's already paid for itself with the new film project!
Regarding the silent film, the story is pretty wild.  I won't go into it too much, but I will say  that the director was 20 when he made it in Seattle.  He had already written and produced 50 stage plays and nine films!  This film was his last one.  He has a bit of a following on classic film chat-groups.  We are planning a documentary about him (I am now a producer in the company!)  I believe this is a huge step for me, as a composer.  All of my licensing work has prepared me for this.  Do look at any track you have done, as meaningless.  It is all part of the puzzle of your composing life.

* Songtradr - I have finally gotten some tracks accepted to playlists!  Not quite a placement, but it is a win.  Hopefully, those playlists (created by Musicsupervisors) will yield some results.

* Canadian webseries! Three of four episodes I scored, recently is now online!   This scoring opportunity started off as a licensing gig (found through FB)
Film noir episode: (scored to picture!)

Tales from the Tech-Side:

*  The film project (above) has continued to push my tech beyond anything I though I would do.  I am now prepping for festival distribution. (the film, itself!)
As far as I can tell, film festivals may need any/or a combination of: BlueRay, DVD, DCP (Digital Cinematic Package), Hi-Res 2 2k or 4K.  All of these can cost money!  I now have sympathy for filmmakers who take their films to festivals.  Companies like allow you to pitch to multiple festivals (7000!).  It can cost $5-100 per festival.  Sound familiar?  The only revenue from the festivals is if you win an award (not too much, generally).  The point is distribution, though.  Anway, if you get a chance to produce (or co-produce something) you are in for a great ride.  It's amazing what's out there.  Check it out.

Questions from the Audience: (please email!)

• Have you ever done any advertising sync with your music?
• But how does it work with internet-only national ads, which it appears this project is to be for? Can one get backend royalties for THAT use ... and how is that submitted to BMI?


As far as advertising, most of the tracks that have been in ads have been through music libraries, although one was through a library that I kept publishing.  I did send a cue sheet to BMI, and even follow-up with them.  Nothing came of it, though.  I have rarely seen any royalties, even if the ad was in some kind of national usage.  I did a song with a local TV Fox affiliate that ran a promo for their programming, and there were no royalties (as BMI says, nothing for local).  My feeling is the royalty rates are extremely low, unless it is a national TV commercial that runs for a long time, and the track is of sufficient length, possibly with someone singing along, etc.  Most of the revenue for ads seems to come from upfront sync fees.  I would focus the effort on the upfront fee.  Usually, they can be pretty good. Spots can pay $1000s to tens of $10,000s.  Taxi and other portals do list them occasionally, and I have noticed that many of the briefs are going out to multiple places. Unless you have a direct in, it can be a tough battle.  The song has to absolutely match the situation, or be written for it.  I do occasionally get custom pitches, but, again, they are extremely competitive.  
I can’t give you much about internet only.  It’s gonna be very low royalties.  Soundexchange pays performers royalties (if you are the performer on the track).  It might pay better.  You should be in both Soundxchange (free) and BMI/ASCAP.
Interesting stuff about ads.  

Some recent FB posts of mine (composer related)
Is theory necessary to be a composer:

Theory is there whether I am aware of it or not. Theory is like grammar. It's best used when it is subconscious. It simply explains what you are doing. I do a lot of improv when I compose. If I can instinctually do something, that is usually best for me. Occasionally, if I am stuck, I might think more about it to come up with something else. If I am trying to sound like a certain style or composer (especially in licensing) I have to understand the theory of that music. My fluency in the style will depend on it.

General Thoughts:

Create your own communities. I've created organizations, been on board of orgs, created events (composers and filmmakers), etc. I have a film for music panel coming up in a week. You do want people to come to you. You do want to give. Start with your immediate community. Its not hard to do. There are very few people that create and manage community activities. Be in the center of your composer and film community. Be a resource. High tide raises all boats. Good luck!!

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


Basics of Licensing:

How I Made It: Jeff Emtman’s music licensing secrets:

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:  (Call it a voluntary subscription to this newsletter!)



Joke/Quote of the week:

I think that a musician is like a doctor, he's supposed to heal people and make them feel better.
Steve Turre



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