Adventures in Music Licensing
October 2017 Vol. 5, No. 10
* Happy Fall! Halloween is coming. Do you have your best horror tracks out there? (http://edhartmanmusic.com/horror___suspense/)
* I am now officially composing full-time! (and teaching a bit, too). Wow, what a change. The pressure is on to make licensing a real deal. I’ve done well with it in the past, but never depended on it. We will see if it can be done! I hope my experiences help you explore the vast opportunities of the music biz…
* 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, Nov 4, 2017, 9am to noon. (https://continuinged.northseattle.edu/courses/make-money-licensing-your-music).
Please share this with any musicians, bands, songwriters or composers you know in the Pacific Northwest. If you live elsewhere, I am looking to take my class on the road. Please email me, if you have any ideas or connections with music schools in your area. I can offer a combination morning Licensing Workshop, and afternoon Percussion Clinic, with a recital in the evening!
* The TAXI Road Rally is coming up in Nov. Sorry, but I won’t be able to make it, this year. I do recommend going. It's a blast and full of info and contacts. It's a great time to join TAXI, if you can go to the convention. Mention my name for some freebies (call to join, not online). You get TWO free tix. They get a good rate at the hotel (at LAX, no ground trans necessary!). (https://www.taxi.com/) I may put on another Licensing Event in Seattle, like a few years back. More info, if it gets together.
* NW Composers: Look on FB for Seattle Composer Alliance Monthly Meetups! They will move around, so keep your eyes open. seattlecomposers.org
* 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 (email@example.com) 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:
Hopefully, these stories of placements can help you understand the reality of licensing. - Ed
* I am going absolutely bonkers finding connections on Linkedin, FB, Twitter, Music Library Report, etc. My goal is to triple my clients within a year. Yikes.
* My filmscore for “The Son, The Father” by Lucas Haas, (premiered opening night at Hollyshorts in August in LA (TCM/Grauman’s Chinese Theatre!). Continues to make the rounds of many other festivals, and has won some awards already. I did work with the production company to submit a cue sheet (list of music used in the film) to my PRO, BMI. I have some good templates, although an a simple text email is fine. Your PRO can get you info. I did have to have the production company email BMI with the info. They need someone from the company to make sure the info is accurate.
* I just finished a smooth jazz cue for a library I’ve worked with for a long time (originally via TAXI). I checked in via email, “I was wondering what was going on regarding a previous track…Are you lookingfor anything right now?”) The library works with network soap-operas. I did get a similar track sent to work from. My first attempt was good, but I took off on a tangent, and created something more for me (unsure what I will do with it.). I did immediately start over, and created a track that the library took. That track was right on the money. Same BPM, similar groove, etc. It’s exclusive, so I kept from getting to involved on it. If I invest too much effort, I generally don’t like giving it to an exclusive client. Hopefully, it will do well. The librarie’s process to take new tracks is:
1) Email 320 mp3 (with meta) to audition.
2) Email wav (44/1 Is OK, mp3 with meta) for use.
3) Email Song info sheet (Schedule A, song title, genre, BPM, PRO info, etc.)
4) Fax or snail mail exclusive contract per song. I don’t quite understand this. FAX is the same as an email doc (digital). Most other companies have abandoned this. Anyway, I sent it in the mail (no more FAX!).
None of this would be a big deal, except every company has a different process. Keep track (make a simple list, like above) for each company. I went back and forth on a few emails to figure out exactly what the library wanted. For metadata I use Metadatics. Drag tracks in the program. Write the meta, and the tracks are done. The tracks remain where they are in your computer! Keep in mind, different companies what different metadata. It’s becoming essential to put this in your tracks. You may get blacklisted if you don’t! At the very least, put the song title, and your name on all tracks.
* Happy BMI Day! I hope your champagne wishes and caviar dreams come true. My track that was in The Blind Side in 2009, is still king. It's been an amazing ride. The upfront was decent ($1500 to me), and it averages $5-10/play, as far as I can tell. It is on religiously on ABC Family, ABC, MTV, TBS, etc. The film was one of the only American Football films to ever do well outside of the US, because it is such a good drama. I still get a kick out of watching my scene. It comes during the only game in the film. It's way back in the mix, as an off-screen marching band (about the 4th one in the scene) The track "Football Funk" was recorded pre-DAW on a Tascam 8 track digital, with Roland Keyboards, and live percussion. The live percussion sells the track. The brass only had 2 tracks, low and high, so I really had to "perform" the tracks. No note entry. I had to improvise the arrangement. Editing was tricky on that machine, so I had to get the takes right. I continue to get inspired by the track to do my performing on my tracks, rather than writing them in. I usually pays off. (http://edhartmanmusic.com/sports_soundtracks/s/football_funk) The placement from from a very supervisory library, with great folks running it (Composers and Supervisors). Ironically, I received the original email from the company, while I was at a TAXI Rally. It's a great movie with a terrific score by Carter Burwell. My favorite scene is when the coaches watch the video of Michael Oher (true story!). The placement of "How High the Moon" (Les Paul and Mary Ford) is absolutely perfect.
* Crucial Music did just accept a few more of my tracks. I generally run 25% accepted for what I submit. They only allow 3 songs submitted at a time. It can take a few months for each set of songs. I immediately add new ones as soon as the old ones are submitted or rejected.
* Speaking of acceptance, I’ve had a good run of forwards via TAXI, since my new studio is done. This is a good sign, that my tech is getting better. I’m waiting to hear from the clients. One thing about TAXI. Even if your song is forwarded, that’s not a guarantee that the client will want it for their project or library. If you are pitching to exclusive libraries, this can be tricky. You may have to wait for contact from the library (can take months), before abandoning them. Personally, I give the library a few months max, and then I consider the track available for other pitching. If they are truly interested in my abilities, I should be able to create something similar, quickly. It’s all about getting the door open.
* Platinum Music (UK) was originally non-exclusive, and now exclusive. They are doing considerable overseas licensing, which non-exclusive doesn’t seem to work for. I recommend submitting to both exclusive an non-exclusive. It’s like investing. You want to spread your investments around.
Tales from the Tech-Side:
My studio is now official. I have already had things go wrong! (bad cables, falling microphones, etc.) Regular maintenance is the key. I don’t like it, but you need to fix stuff before the next project. There is nothing more stressful that have a deadline, and things don’t work. Always have a backup, if possible. That can be an extra mic, cord, etc.
Questions from the Audience:
(Questions from Barb)
Hi Ed! I listened to your "reality show" bits and the Beethoven Samba- totally cool! Do you have links to a few songs with vocals you've done? Do you sing them yourself or hire vocalists? No real reason to ask except to enjoy hearing your work.
I’ve only done a handful of vocals. I’ve tried to sing, but still can’t stand my voice. The only success I’ve ever had singing is either doing Harry Belafonte (“Shake , shake, shake Senora..”) or Blues Bros. (“Sweet Home, Chicago”) That would only be live, though! My recorded voice sucks! If I can find the right type of vocal, I might have a shot. Otherwise, here’s what I have written, with other singers:
The Lights of Christmas –This track is on CD Baby. My attempt at “White Christmas” Great vocal by Cheryl Johnson. It has been forwarded a bit (TAXI). Still waiting for a good placement.
Of Days Gone By* – Classic jazz ballad with excellent vocals by Dina Blade.
Memories* – A little waltz.
Spygirls – This was a major challenge to create a Shirley Bassey, “Goldfinger” song for a Documentary about the artist of James Bond posters! Again, a great performance by Cheryl Johnson. I know I can do a better job now, but the tune is good.
Adam and Eve Shuffle – This was a very quickly done track for an opening credits of a local film. Cheryl kicks butt.
Hook Line and Sinker – This calypso was for a film that never got going. Too bad, the director was in contact with Robin Williams! Cheryl does it again!
Nobody* – Dina recorded this little jazz swing tune.
*Recorded on my Tascam digital years ago. The rest were recording on my MAC (Logic)
There are companies such as Secret Road, All Media, Cellar Music, Big Yellow Dog etc. I heard they are licensing companies that are good to work with. I think you have to be selected to belong and can't apply to them...
I have not heard of them. I will check. I am looking for all kinds of opps right now! Thanks.
What about APM?- are they a library? Licensing company? Publisher? Both? (You've mentioned them and Reverbnation works with them...they're owned by Sony & Universal).
I’ve just started looking at APM. The own a number of exclusive libraries. I am checking on Killertracks, and Universal Production Music. You have to do a bit of digging. Via Linkedin and FB, I have grabbed some outstanding lists of libraries folks are submitting to.
This is what comes up with APM and Reverbnation:
And in your current newsletter, you discuss "royalty-free libraries": Are Songtradr, Crucial, APM, Audiosparx, MusicSupervisor, royalty-free?
RF is really about one time licensing of a track for multiple use (more than one project). Most libraries license one track for one project at a time. If you need the track for two projects (or even two uses in the same project) you need two licenses. All of the libraries above do single use licensing. Again the words Royalty Free are used in confusing ways.
Songtradr is a songplatform and slowly becoming a non-exclusive library, as far as I can tell. They connect you with clients. I wounldn’t call them royalty free. Crucial is absolutely not RF. In fact, they don’t allow artists to submit music that is in some RF libraries. APM is exclusive, the opposite of RF.
Have you ever used ArtTracks to do a video? What does a video using a template cost? What are your thoughts about something like this versus hiring an actual videographer?
I do my own videos! (https://www.youtube.com/user/edhartman1)
I might work with a local filmmaker to barter music for a video.
What about DropTrack for music promotion? They pay people to listen to your music. Is it kind of scammy? Sounds like Music XRay or Music Submit. On Music Submit they can listen to your music for a couple seconds and get paid. No wonder the rate of return is so low although I did get on some radio stations through them.
Never used them. Looks like promo for radio, etc.
Have you ever heard of Jamendo Licensing. Advertised at CD Baby convention. I'm not going to bother. Why should consumers listen to music for free? At least on Spotify you get some kind of royalty. And the library is totally just a stock royalty-free library. Unless you have a different experience?
Never heard of them. I’m focused on licensing, rather than promo. Jamendo looks like an RF library. Watch it with YT conflicts.
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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:
“When I speak of the gifted listener, I am thinking of the non-musician primarily, of the listener who intends to retain his amateur status. It is the thought of just such a listener that excites the composer in me.”